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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: How to Punctuate Email Greetings

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email is changing the way that we start

written communications to each other

that is changing it from the way that

was traditional when we used regular old

letters on paper and this has caused

some confusion about how we ought to

punctuate the beginning of emails the

greetings a salutation that starts off

an email so I want to try to offer a

rationale for understanding how we ought

to be doing that now

and to do that I'd like to just look at

how one would punctuate a couple of

lines of dialogue because that will show

us actually how we ought to be punctuate

in the beginning of our email messages

so here is a line as it would appear if

you were writing a novel or something

where one character said to another John

I'm leaving you this is how you would

begin it would be John comma I'm leaving

you now this is because John is what is

called a positive and I have a video on

that if you'd like to check out that but

that just means that when you are

directly addressing somebody and you're

naming them or even if you're just

saying calling them in you you I'm

leaving you

or something like that or fella I'm

leaving you so you don't have to use it

doesn't have to be their actual name but

when you do that you have to surround

that name with punctuation that is

unless it's at the very beginning of a

sentence so obviously you don't put

punctuation here in English you don't

put a comma there but John I'm leaving

you so if you were to soften that

announcement because that's pretty tough

you might say Dear John Deere John I'm

leaving you and there would be no

punctuation there would be no comma

around John here because deer is an ad

to modify John which John Deere John

that's which John so this is really this

is this is what you're calling John

you're calling him Dear John and that's

different from this other line of

dialogue as it would appear in a novel

which is hi John I'm leaving you notice

there would be a comma after hi because

hi unlike deer is not an adjective and

you're not saying which John hi John

that's which John that the hi is in a

different relationship to John from the

relationship deer is in so they're not

actually similar so you would have this

hi John and then there would be age

period don't know if that you can see

that but now you can now I know this is

not a complete sentence it doesn't have

a subject for a combination but this is

how it would appear in a problem if you

wrote this hi John comma I'm leaving you

at some point before it got published an

editor would come in flap that's dark

and get rid of that comma and put a

period in just to complete this little

set I've written hi Dear John that's how

it would have this would have here again

if this were a line in a novel it would

be high comedy R John period I'm leaving

you period now what's the point of all

this well it's to show you how you want

to be punctuating your emails and and

how we have punctuated traditional

letters because the only thing that is

odd about traditional letters is simply

a matter of spacing that is in

traditional letters if we were to begin

with this one that does look like at the

beginning of a different

of a traditional letter except for one

thing we put the dear Jean on another

line that's how it would look in a

traditional letter but the punctuation

the comma there is not some special rule

just four letters that's just the way

one punctuate so there there is no

special rule for punctuation that that

brick that regulates how you begin a

traditional letter you punctuate just as

you would if it were a regular line of

dialogue in a in a play or thing or just

punctuating what you what you said to

somebody it would be Dear John comma I'm

leaving you so that tells us really that

when we begin emails in this more

informal way with hi John or hey John or

yo John or any anything like that that

we ought to just punctuated the normal

way we would punctuate it if it were a

regular old line of dialogue so if

you're beginning your emails this way

this is how it makes sense to start

punctuating them hi pama John period I'm


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