The problem with America2
August 10, 2012 by Casey Hart
Well, it’s not so much the problem, per se, but more the indicator of greater, underlying problems and goes a little something like this: People in this country—educated people with paying jobs—don’t put commas in front of other folks’ names when addressing them. Every tweeter and her mother is like, “Hi guys!!!” and “Congrats Johnny!” and “Bobby if you touch my shelf in the fridge again, I’ll break your legs.”
This is an elementary concept. In fact, I’m pretty sure this is the first thing you’re told when you learn in elementary school about the existence of the comma. I understand that people make grammatical errors. No biggie. But the fact that 90 percent (you know, give or take) of people addressing someone butcher this simple rule crushes my faith in humanity. Or something.
That concludes this evening’s lecture. People say I’m a grammar snob. That is not true. Grammar snobs are English majors who know all the names of all the parts of speech and use those terms while trying to explain to you that you are an idiot. All I am is a man asking you that if you’re going to write in English, write in English.
Also, the word you’re looking for is “you’re.”
Sorry, Casey, but I think that’s a losing cause. Though I share your frustration, I don’t think we’ll see the comma surrounding a person being addressed ever again. Oh, maybe once in a blue moon, someone will add it to avoid confusion, but as a rule, it’s gone, done, finished.
The best example of this came when Brits were encouraging their favorite tennis player this summer. There’s a big difference between “Come on Andy!” and “Come on, Andy!”