The Vocative Case

The Vocative Case :

This case in English is used to indicate direct address so as to show when you are talking to somebody or something directly. In English, nouns in this case are followed using commas. Names and nouns that are being addressed directly by the speaker of the particular sentence are treated to be in this case. When somebody is being spoken to directly the speaker of the particular sentence, his / her name must be separated from the other parts of the sentence by a comma. Vocative stems from the word vocal.

I know, Rama.
In the above sentence, the proper noun RAMA is in this case. As RAMA is being addressed directly and RAMA is offset with a comma.

Compare the sentence above with this one.

I know Rama.

There is no comma here. Rama is now the direct object of the verb KNOW. This sentence means that I (the speaker of this sentence) know the person whose name is RAMA.

Here are some few more examples of sentences with nouns in this case.

1. What are you doing, Charlie?
2. Mary, did you forget to come to this office yesterday?
3. I know your sister, Sarah.
4. Your brother, Ashok, is not only good at academic, but also good at sports.
5. Do me a favour, John, and request your brother to visit our office by this evening?

Both nouns and noun phrases can be used in this case which is used quite frequently with proper nouns. But it is also used with common nouns.

Where have you been, you little angel?

The word LITTLE ANGEL is a common noun. The term YOU LITTLE ANGEL is a noun phrase - a group of words playing the role of a noun.)

Even inanimate objects as well as animals can be addressed directly in this case. Those names and the nouns should also be separated from the other parts of the sentence to show that they are in the vocative case.

We will see you next Tuesday, Bala.
In this sentence, BALA is being addressed. His name BALA must be separated from the other parts of the sentence with a comma. The word BALA is said to be in this case.

That is the case for the Prosecution, Your Honour.
The judge is being addressed by the words YOUR HONOUR. These words YOUR HONOUR are in this case and these words YOUR HONOUR must be separated from the other parts of the sentence with commas.


  1. Noun and Case
  2. Kinds of Cases in English
  3. The Nominative Case
  4. The Subjective Case
  5. The Straight Case
  6. The Upright Case
  7. Nominative Case Pronouns
  8. Nominative Pronouns
  9. The Genitive Case
  10. The Possessive Case
  11. The Accusative Case
  12. The Objective Case
  13. The Dative Case
  14. Uses of The Genitive Case
  15. Genitive Case in Phrases
  16. Genitive Case in Apposition

The Vocative Case :

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