You often use a person's name when you speak directly to him/her.  This is called using a noun of direct address.   Since the name is extra and not really part of the main idea of the sentence, it must be separated from the rest of the sentence with commas.
 

Use commas to set off nouns of direct address.

  • When the name is at the beginning of the sentence, one comma is needed after it to separate it from the rest of the sentence.
     

Ann, you are my very best friend!

  • When the name is at the end of the sentence, one comma is needed before the name to separate it from the rest of the sentence.

I have never been on a sailboat before, Steven.
  • When the name is in the middle of the sentence, two commas are needed, one on each side, to separate it from the rest of the sentence.

How did you do, Dad, in the race?

 

In each of these example sentences, there is a noun of direct address. If you removed the name (noun) from the sentence, it would still be a complete idea, so commas are needed to set it apart.

Sarah, where are you going on vacation?
I know you can hear me, Tom, so why won't you answer?
Wake up, Andrew, you can't sleep in class!
What time is your flight leaving tomorrow, Aunt Rose?
Mom, have you seen my new socks?

Remember, whenever you speak directly to a person and use his/her name, the name must be set apart from the rest of the sentence with commas.

  

Click on the Chalk board to practice commas with nouns of direct address!

 

There are many other important and useful comma rules that you should know to improve your communication when you write.  Follow the links below to the lessons that introduce them:

Commas in dates, addresses, & letters

Commas
in a

Series

 

Commas in Compound Sentences
 


Commas With Interrupters

 

Commas With Adjectives
 

 

 

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