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Comma after “Hey” — The Ultimate Guide

Comma after “Hey” — The Ultimate Guide

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Writing needs more detailed attention than speaking because we have to consider grammatical elements such as sentence structure and writing style in mind.

To add fuel to the fire, we also need to have a good grasp of the punctuation system to make writing more accurate, coherent, and unambiguous.

As this is the case, we sometimes get caught up in the issue of whether a comma should come between or among words within our sentence.

Well, worry no more because this article covers the nooks and crannies of comma placement specifically after the greeting expression “hey.” 


Detailed guidelines on inserting the mandatory comma after “hey”

Commas are used for practical reasons in such a way that they disambiguate textual information to prevent misinterpretation.

However, the whimsical nature of languages makes individual words pointless without them being part of a larger pool of ideas.

In the same vein, concepts won’t be made understood without making sense of the individual words that make up their holistic unit of meaning.

In order for “meaning” to be fully comprehended by a message receiver, we also need to use linguistic devices like punctuation marks.

And, among all punctuation marks, the comma is deemed as the most infamous one, for it often causes perplexity and annoyance among language users.

So, to understand comma usage in its utmost detail, the succeeding subsections elaborate how a necessary comma operates after the word “hey.”


When “hey” is followed by a direct addressee’s name

To imitate spoken conversations in writing, we need to make use of the construct called “direct address,” which is also known as the “vocative case” in grammar studies.

A direct address is a way of referring to a person or any other entity in writing, as opposed to merely reporting or asking for a piece of information.

For a reader to understand that the text uses a direct address, a comma is necessary to represent this linguistic cue.

In other words, a comma should come after “hey,” for example, when you want to send your greeting to a person with whom you directly correspond.



Hey, Ara! Are you free this weekend?

When the addressee reads this message, they would instantly know that you are talking or writing towards them.

In recent years, though, many people have been prioritizing communicative convenience over formalistic grammar strategies, which is also prompted by the advent of the digital age. 

This has resulted in the deletion of commas for practical purposes. But, why not? When we send direct messages to a person, logic informs them that the message is not for anyone else.

But then, again, the problem arises if and when this writing behavior becomes habitual and taken into an inappropriate context.

The comma omission routine may cause unfavorable issues when applied especially in formalistic correspondence that entails tact and meticulousness.


When “hey” is used in an e-mail or letter salutation

E-mail and letter salutations that use greeting expressions rather than adjectives also need to be punctuated with a comma.

This means that you need to use a post-comma when you’re using “hey,” “hello,” or “hi” together with the addressee’s name in your salutation.

Take note that these greeting expressions contain a relatively less formal connotation than “dear,” so we have to use them appropriately.

A comma must come after “hey” in salutations when it is followed by the addressee’s name afterward, just like in the next example.



Hey, Josie.

Hey, Calvin!

Also, we must bear in mind that using a period at the end of the salutation elicits a neutral tone, whereas an exclamation point conveys enthusiasm or excitement.


When “hey” is at the end of an introductory expression

Introductory statements are also set off with commas to signal the reader that the meat of the information is yet to come.

An introductory expression could be a word, phrase, or clause that provides an initial context to readers.

The comma alerts the reader to take a pause and spare some amount of time to digest the real message intended by the writer.

As this is the case, a comma should automatically come after “hey” when it is used as the last word in an introductory phrase or clause.



As soon as Dylan said “hey,” a weirdly familiar feeling unfolded upon her.


If you notice in the example above, the introductory clause suggests a scenario that entices the reader of the rest of the information contained in the main clause.

Hence, the comma is essential in any similar sentence structure that uses “hey” as the last word in the introductory part.


When “hey” comes before a parenthesis

Another case that mandates comma usage after the word “hey” is when a parenthetical statement comes afterward.

In rhetoric, a parenthesis is a grammatically inessential linguistic device that drives persuasion by creating emphasis.

Parenthetical elements are encapsulated with commas wherever they appear in a sentence to mark their grammatical independence from the sentence’s holistic meaning.

With these, we can deduce that a comma must also come after “hey” when a parenthesis subsequently follows it.



All she was able to say was “hey,” as if there was anything else better than that, and then she continued walking down the aisle.


When “hey” appears at the end of a parenthesis

Since we already know that a parenthetical interruption needs to be encapsulated with commas, it is also apparent that we have to use a post-comma when “hey” is the last word used in the parenthesis.

Again, the purpose of using parenthetical elements is to demonstrate persuasive language use by adding extra information in the form of emphatic comments, just like we do in the spoken context.



He used to be so sweet back in the days, and hey, that was the reason why she had kept falling for him over and over.


The parenthetical expression “and hey” is emphatic in such a way that it calls the attention of the reader before proceeding to the remaining parts of the sentence.

So, we always need to use an after-comma when and if “hey” is used in similar cases.


When “hey” is in a compound sentence

Now, let’s also go to a comma rule which is based on syntax or sentence structure, another highly crucial factor that guides punctuation usage.

All good to great writers know that a comma must separate two independent clauses that are linked by a coordinating conjunction.

These coordinating conjunctions also go by the name “FANBOYS” which simply stands for the linking words “for,” “and,” “nor,” “but,” “or,” “yet,” and “so.”

This type of sentence is referred to as a compound sentence, a sentence that is made up of at least two stand-alone clauses.

When “hey” is used at the end of the first independent clause, a comma must come right after it; thus, this also means that the comma should be placed right before the coordinating conjunction.



All it takes for her to say is a single “hey,” yet she still succumbed to her introverted, immature nature.


When “hey” is in a reversed-order complex sentence

One more syntax-based punctuation rule that guides comma usage is observed in complex sentences.

A complex sentence is made up of at least one independent and one dependent (also called a subordinate clause) that is linked by a subordinating conjunction.

The most commonly-used subordinating conjunctions are “unless,” “because,” “before,” “although,” “until,” “since,” “if,” etc.

In regularly structured complex sentences, the independent clause comes first, followed by the conjunctive device, and then by the dependent clause. This type of structure does not need a comma at all.

When we reverse the order though, meaning the conjunction and the dependent clause come in front, a comma already becomes necessary in the construction.



Unless he throws in a smile, a nod, or a “hey,” she’s not planning to lay her eyes on him.


When “hey” is used as a quotation

Lastly, a comma is also positioned after “hey” when it is used in quoted speeches, especially in American English.

In British English, the practice is to place the comma after the closing quotation mark rather than immediately after the last word in the quote.

Hence, always use a post-comma if you’re a follower of AmE.



AmE: “Hey,” she shouted at Paul, “watch out!”

BrE: “Hey”, she shouted at Paul, “watch out!”


Do not use a comma after “hey” when…

We’ve already covered the circumstances that command the necessary post-comma placement, and therefore, it is also crucial that we discuss when it becomes incorrect.

Depending on the writer’s intent, the word “hey” may also be used either as a noun or an adjective in a sentence.

So long that the manner of using “hey” does not fall under any of the guidelines listed earlier, no comma should appear after it in the following cases:


“Hey” is used as a noun

Nouns may act as subjects or objects in sentences. When this linguistic strategy is applied to the word “hey,” as well as other greeting expressions, using a post-comma would make the sentence ungrammatical.

In the first example, “hey” is used as the surname of the person that functions as the subject of the sentence. Thus, no comma should come between the subject and the linking verb.

In the second example, you will notice that “hey” is used as the subject of the sentence too, in which it is given a description and compared to another word.

Placing a post-comma in both sentences would make the sentence ungrammatical.



Charleston Hey is a world-renowned musician.

“Hey” is a more casual greeting expression than “hello.”


“Hey” is used as an adjective

The arbitrary nature of languages also allows its users to deliberately create alternative word meanings and functions.

“Hey” may also be intentionally adjectivized by adding an appropriate noun afterward, such as a “hey nod,” “hey smile,” or “hey attempt.”

When this happens, the comma becomes irrelevant because it would also make the sentence ill-formed.



She ignored his hey nod and looked the other way.


So, to sum up, when exactly should we insert a comma after “hey” and when not?

Here’s the answer:


When should we insert a comma after “hey”?

A comma after “hey” is necessary when it is followed by a direct addressee’s name, as in e-mail salutations; when it is at the end of an introductory expression and parenthesis; appears before a parenthetical insertion; used in a compound or reversed-complex sentence, as well as in a quotation.


Frequently Asked Questions on “Comma After Hey”


How do we use a comma after “bye”?

We should place a comma after “bye” when it is followed by a direct addressee’s name, such as in “Bye, sis” or “Bye, Bailey.”


When do we need a comma after a name?

When the name is used as an antecedent to a relative clause, a comma should be placed after it, just like in: “Yelena, my childhood best friend, is arriving this weekend.”


How do we use a comma in an e-mail salutation?

A comma should come between the greeting word and the direct addressee’s name (e.g., Hello, Grace!), but the comma should come after the name when we use adjectives like “dear” or “dearest” (e.g. Dear Grace,).


Commas are powerful enough to change the tone and meaning of sentences; hence, their inarguable importance in writing.

Always remember that comprehensively knowing how commas work is one major reason why writers become successful in their field.

Hope to see you next time on our next comma post!