LET’S LEARN MORE #6: Miss, Mrs. or Ms.?

Miss, Mrs., or Ms.?

What does “Miss” mean?

“Miss,” when attached to a name, is a title of respect for an unmarried woman. You can use it by itself as a term of address or combine it with a surname, a descriptor of a prominent characteristic, or something she represents.

Example:

Miss Penelope Edwards is the new nursery school teacher. (surname)

Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters is Miss Universe 2017. (something she represents)

Well, aren’t you little Miss Traveler? (prominent characteristic)

How do you use “Miss?”

Typically, in a business setting, you would use “Miss” along with an unmarried female’s last name. Don’t worry if you don’t know the woman’s last name; pausing after Miss suggests the woman to supply it to you. Make sure to use “Miss” for unmarried women you don’t know well or who hold positions of authority, such as teachers or supervisors.

Example:

Thanks for the invitation, Miss Janice . You are a great neighbor!

What does “Mrs.” mean?

“Mrs.” is a title of respect for a married or widowed woman. Sometimes the title includes her husband’s first and last name rather than her own, especially for written correspondence or when the wife’s name is unknown; this practices is becoming far less common than it was in the past, however.

Example:

Address the envelope to Mrs. Donald Belmont. (the wife of Donald Belmont)

How do you use “Mrs.”?

At work, when addressing married women, and when speaking to women in a position of authority, use “Mrs.” along with the married female’s last name. Always wait for an invitation to drop the formal title before using a woman’s first name.

Example:

Mrs. Jones is an amazing electrical engineer.

What does “Ms.” mean?

What if you don’t know whether someone is married or not? Unlike “Miss” or “Mrs.”, it doesn’t indicate a woman’s marital status. The title became popular during the women’s movement of the 1970s because “Ms.” seemed a suitable equivalent of “Mister,” a title of respect for both unmarried and married men.

How to Use “Ms.”

Apply the same rules as you would for “Miss” and “Mrs.”

“Miss” or “Ms.”?

Both “Miss” and “Ms.” apply to women who are unmarried or whose marital status is unknown. Which you choose depends on the preference of the woman. Interestingly, some newspaper editors avoid the issue by omitting titles and instead referring to men and women by their full names.

Example:

Prince Harry has said he knew his bride-to-be Meghan Markle was “the one” from the moment they met, as the couple made their first public appearance since the announcement of their engagement.