Tuesday, 26 February 2013

7 Things to Know About Vocatives

1) A vocative refers to a person or persons to whom a sentence is addressed.

2) They could be used to call someone to get their attention. For example
John, your dinner's ready. 
Guys, it's poker time.

3) They can be used to address someone. For example:
Teacher, please tell me that one again. 
Are you sure that you want to do that, love?
Stop it, idiot. 

4) Vocatives are optional in a sentence. They can be added or removed without affecting the rest of the sentence. 

5) They can appear at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence. In this way they convey different kinds of nuance. For example:
Mary, I'd like my boy to walk here. 
I'd like my boy, Mary, to walk here.
I'd like my boy to walk here, Mary.

6) Vocatives can be:
a) Names.
b) Family.
c) Markers of status or respect - lord, sir...
d) Labels for occupations - doctor, teacher...
e) Evaluative - darling, love, fool...
f) General labels - guys, gals, boys...
g) The pronoun you - Although this can be very impolite - You, pass me that.
h) Occasionally, certain kinds of clause - Whatever your name is, don't touch it.

7) There is normally only one vocative per sentence because there is no need to keep addressing the same person or group of people. 


  1. What Would Gandhi do? Please explain. I like it but why did you chose it. Just curious. Nice explanation of vocatives by the way.

  2. Hi,

    Thanks for reading my blog. I called it that because I remember a few years ago that there was a thing going around called 'what would Chuck Norris do?' I think asking what would Gandhi do in most situations would probably force me to make better decisions in my life.

    It's not related to the blog at all.

    Thanks again for reading.