miss, ms or miss


When is it appropriate to address a letter to Mrs, Miss or Ms 

asked Feb 07 '11 at 14:52 Stephen Hutson New member

2 answers


Most often, you would use 'Mrs.' if you know the woman is married, 'Miss' if you know she is not. Some etiquette writers (and female professionals in male-dominated fields, and women who did not take their husband's name, and feminists, etc.) suggest the default use of 'Ms.' for any woman, regardless of marital status, as it is more neutral and does not define the woman in terms of a man. It also does not carry the risk of using 'Mrs.' or 'Miss' and getting it wrong.


In short, 'Ms.' is often the preferred neutral title, identical in usage to the male 'Mr.' However, use 'Miss' or 'Mrs.' if you happen to know that the woman prefers and uses this title herself.

link comment answered Feb 07 '11 at 18:12 Collane Ramsey Expert

I was taught back when Ms first was introduced that you don't add a period after Ms, because it is not an abbreviation.  It was devised because when addressing a man as Mr. John Doe we are not indicating his marital status which is not pertinant in formal situations.  Women's marital status should likewise be not pertinant in formal situations so Ms Jane Doe is vastly superior to Miss Jane Doe or worse still, Mrs. John Doe.  In many European languages, once you are an adult woman, especially in a formal business environment women are no longer referred to as their language's equivalent of Miss, but all adult women become the equivalent of Mrs. regardless of marital status. Women older than baby boomers may be accustomed to being called Mrs. John Doe, but women who do not define themselves in terms of a man would prefer Ms Jane Doe or Mrs. Jane Doe to using the husband's first name instead of their own.

link comment answered Nov 07 '15 at 09:46 Laurie New member

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