Global communications in English
Quick tips

Is she Mrs, Miss or Ms?

MissWhat courtesy title should you give a woman in English these days? It depends on whether she is married or not, the context (personal or business), her age and, to some extent, her nationality! Obviously, your best strategy is to use the title people give themselves. But what do you do if they don’t give themselves a title? For those occasions, use the handy table below.

Personal context

  • She’s married (or widowed) and using her husband’s name: Mrs
  • She’s unmarried: Miss
  • You don’t know her marital status but she’s over 65: Mrs is the safest choice!
  • You don’t know her marital status but she’s under 65: Just first name and last name
    or Ms (especially in the US)

Business context

  • In all cases, Ms is the safest choice, though older married women may prefer the title Mrs. The use of Ms is well established in the US, but slightly less so in other English-speaking countries.

Note that Mrs – unlike Mevr. and Mw. in Dutch – always indicates that the person so addressed is married. So don’t automatically translate Mw. as Mrs!

Full stop or not?
Should you use a full stop after any of the English abbreviations? In US English, a full stop is usually placed after Mrs. and Ms. In UK English, however, it is now common to use no full stops in such cases.  Miss is never followed by a full stop in any variety of English.

©2013 Baxter Publishing, Hilversum, The Netherlands

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© 2013 - Baxter Communications | Hilversum - NL