Use a Comma or Commas to Set Off Direct Address

Use a comma or commas to set off direct address. Direct address occurs when someone is addressed directly by name or a name. For example:

“Hi, David.”

“Hello, Dad.”

“What’s happening, man?”

“Hello, Mr. Chelini.”

“This concerns you, Mr. Chelini, because of the cost of shutting down the plant.”

Actor John Hurt co-starred with Harrison Ford in the 2008 action-adventure movie Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The 66-year-old Mr. Ford has kept himself in shape, and he did his own fights and many of his character’s stunts in the movie. At one point, after performing a harrowing stunt, Mr. Ford turned to Mr. Hurt and joked, “Well, you don’t think they employ me to act, did you, John?”

John Cho and Kal Penn are the Korean and Indian stars of the 2004 cult movie Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, but they have done much more acting than that film and its sequel. Mr. Cho played Sulu in a Star Trek movie and appeared as a hip-hop-savvy accountant named Kenny in TV’s Ugly Betty. Mr. Penn appeared on TV’s House and landed a role in the dramatic movie The Namesake in part because of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. He explains that Namesake director Mira Nair let him audition because “her 14-year-old son, who was a Harold & Kumar fan, […] every night before bed said, ‘Mom, please audition Kal Penn for the part.’”

The brother of journalist Donald Liebenson once saw actor Paul Newman at an airport and asked him for an autograph for his mother, who was a big fan. Mr. Newman replied, “Sorry, pal. Tell your mom that I don’t sign autographs, but I’d be happy to buy her a beer.” Years later, Mr. Liebenson saw Mr. Newman at a publicity junket and recounted that story to him. Mr. Newman replied that he could remember the exact moment that he began declining to sign autographs: “I was standing at a urinal in Sardi’s, and this guy came though the door with a piece of paper. I thought this was inappropriate. It wasn’t just an invasion of privacy. It was an invasion of purpose.”

TV commercials for the European jeans manufactured by Diesel sometimes addressed contemporary issues. One commercial was headlined, “How to smoke 145 cigarettes a day.” In it, a talking skull asks the viewers, “Man, who needs two lungs anyway?”

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