comma between 'hi' / 'hello' and name [salutation]: Hi, Paul, I


Senior Member
if I want to say hello to somebody and if I use his/her name right after the word "Hi" or "Hello", is it better to write a comma between those two words or not?

Hi, Paul, I just want to...
Hi Paul, I just want to...

Thank you!
  • Until the dawning of the age of e-mail this construction was only used in quoting direct speech. The greeting was usually treated as a sentence by itself.
    Hi Paul. I just want ...
    Hello Paul. I just want ...

    Now, this is often used as a salutation on an e-mail or other brief message.
    There have been previous threads on this topic but I can't find one immediately.
    In e-mails I write:
    Hello Paul,
    I just ....

    The punctuation (comma after Paul) is modelled on the traditional Dear Paul, opening.
    Sometimes the comma becomes a colon.

    I wouldn't put a comma after Hi or Hello in either situation.

    If I can find the earlier discussion I'll come back and post a link :)
    I've always been taught that a salutation/greeting is followed by a comma:

    Hi, Paul! or Hi, Paul,

    but an adjective is not:

    Dear Paul,

    However, since I rarely see salutations written that way anymore, I wonder if that rule has fallen into disuse since I was a student. :confused:
    I learned the same thing, ajo fresco, but I think we're behind the times. Sigh. The current practice seems to be to omit the comma after a one-word salutation and often after a two-word salutation, but to leave it after a longer phrase (which, I suppose, is not a salutation, strictly speaking).
    Hi there,

    Could you, please, tell me if it's proper to leave out the comma after hi?
    Thanks in advance!
    It looks very odd to me to put a comma after hi in an email. As you can see above there are some people who would, but they note that it is possible their usage is behind the times.

    Edit - not sure if I fully understood the question. If a name followed I would then put a comma, as in -

    Hi Paul,

    How are you today?
    Just to add a little more info to this old post, I would never insert a comma between Hi and someone's name. My emails always look more or less like this:

    Hi Mary,

    How are you? Bleblebleh.

    Take care,

    I only know one person who inserts a comma between the word "hi" and the name, and that person's native language is not English. I was going to correct him, but Googled this topic first to make sure I wasn't wrong. Turns out I am wrong! Grammatically, it is correct to use the comma, according to the grammar notes I found on other websites.

    Nevertheless, even though it is grammatically correct to use the comma, I do not plan on using it. It does not seem to be used by most people and ends up looking incorrect as a result.
    I (almost) always use a comma after "hi" or "hello". How strange. I thought most people did.

    "Hi Linda" looks to me like some sort of noun phrase. as if "Hi Linda" was the opposite of "Low Linda".
    This discussion has been added to a previous thread. Cagey, moderator.

    Does anybody think that the proper place for a comma in the greeting line in correspondence is between the greeting and the name? Would the following example be correct? Is it old-school? Or is it entirely incorrect? If the comma is indeed placed in-between, should the greeting line end with a full stop? Is an exclamation sign good too?

    Hello, John.

    [body of correspondence]

    Kind regards,

    Last edited by a moderator:
    Dear Sir,

    Dear Madam,

    Dear Mr. X,


    As somebody said in response to another one of your questions: There are many models of letters online.
    I have added this more recent discussion to a previous thread.
    Please scroll up and read from the top.

    Cagey, moderator.