Saturday, November 29, 2008

Etiquette on Addressing Women

Ms. is the correct form of address in the business arena, and it is widely accepted in the social arena as well. Its use, however, is sometimes confused. A divorced woman who goes by her married name would use Ms. because Miss is reserved for a woman who has never married. Thus, when Mary Mitchell marries Dan Fleischmann, she becomes Ms. Mary Mitchell (which is also fine if she is single) or Mrs. Daniel Fleischmann. She does not use Mrs. Mary Fleischmann.
Other rules for addressing women include
  • Married. A married woman who keeps her maiden name may be known professionally as, for example, Mary Mitchell and socially as Mrs. Daniel Fleischmann. When a married woman hyphenates her name, a practice that appears to be waning in popularity, the maiden name comes before the hyphen and the married name after.
  • Widows. A woman using her husband’s name does not change her name when her husband dies.
  • Divorced. When a woman does not drop her married name entirely, she uses her given name in place of her former husband’s given name. If she is known professionally by her former husband’s name, she can continue to use it even if she remarries. When a woman resumes her maiden name, she becomes Ms. Mary Mitchell, dropping her former Mrs. and never using Miss, which denotes a woman who has never been married.
  • Separated. A woman who is legally separated continues to use her husband’s name—given and surname—until she is divorced. A separated woman may use her given name if she chooses.
  • Single mothers. Using Ms. makes more sense than using Miss (although it is technically correct) or Mrs., which designates someone who is legally married. Ms. can refer to either married or single women.

No comments: