Mister Master Mr Miss Mrs Ms Messrs

The words Master and Mistress  gave rise to Mr (for Mister) and Mrs/Miss/Ms.

Nowadays the term Master is only used for boys and young men, while Mister is used to formally address anyone without a knighthood or informally address someone whose name you do not know.

The plural form of Mr is Messrs.  For example

  • when Messrs Pittman and Smith arrived
  • when the Messrs Smith arrived

Regarding Miss, Mrs, Ms – I always tell people to use Ms. The formal use of these titles is

Miss Jane Bowden (single)

Mrs Roger Mole (married to Roger Mole)

Mrs Jane Mole (divorced from or the widow of Mr Mole)

To avoid all this just use Ms (pronounced Mz)

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

3 thoughts

  1. Dear Jane, thank you for sharing this. I cited your writing for my essay for my Translation course. Thanks again.

  2. Spinster sisters were always addressed as “The Misses Smith” for example, see Messrs above for plural Mr. I don’t suppose this term would be fashionable today, but I find it very English, which I like.

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