I realize I cannot save the whole world from poor punctuation, but in the matter of what we editor types call “direct address,” proper punctuation is quite easy to master. The principle here is simple. If you’re addressing someone by name, set if off with a comma. This is, again I say, easy. For instance:
“Happy Birthday, Jennifer!” (Not “Happy Birthday Jennifer,” no matter how many times we’ve seen it that way on Facebook.)
“Good morning, world!”
“No, officer, I didn’t realize the speed limit was only thirty-five miles an hour.”
“Would I like a Krispy Kreme doughnut? Yes, ma’am!”
See how simple it was to set off all those names and titles with a comma or two? Easy peasy.
This week, however, I signed up to join a restaurant’s loyalty program and nearly choked when I read the notification that popped up. It said, “You’re in Angela!” Grr. Grr. Grr. That’s the sound of me gritting my teeth. The message should have read, “You’re in, Angela!”
Gentle reader, the only person in this house to whom the words “You’re in Angela!” may accurately be addressed is my husband. And on the lovely occasions when those words happen to ring true, I trust he has not the slightest inclination to check any computer notifications … if you get my drift.
So there you go. It’s not “You’re in Angela” but “You’re in, Angela!”
Yes, my friends, punctuation matters.