comma with direct address: Congratulations, Mary!


Senior Member
Canada, English

If one is writing a congratulations for someone with the words "Congratulations, [name]!", should there be a comma after "Congratulations!". I'm aware that in regular usage, people often do not add one, but according to style guides, is it the recommended usage? (similar to greetings? (for ex. "Hello, Mary") or would this be a considered a different category?)

Thank you in advance!
  • Thanks for the confirmation, Ceremoniar! (Unfortunately, Googling "Congratulations + comma" brings up a few responses saying that it is wrong/that one "should not put one" (but they were all 'Yahoo Answers'-type sites))
    Ceremoniar is right - you need the comma. The only place I could imagine omitting it would be if there was a lack of space, as in a telegram or written in icing on a cake.
    Many people do write this type of thing without the comma, and insist that it shouldn't have a comma. Unfortunately, they are incorrect! It's very good that you recognised that the fact that most of those comments came from "Yahoo! Answers"-type sites makes them unreliable. :)
    I guess it's clearly wrong, but I myself would omit the comma, but I'd include it in the inverse:

    John, Congratulations!
    Congratulations John! (I'm omit if for simplicity, even though it may be wrong.)

    I just want to describe my usage.