When we interact with people, especially in a formal setting, we must keep certain things in mind, the most important being how we address them. All said and done, we cannot afford to offend people, so we have to be mindful of the titles we use to address them. And here, there is a difference between men and women. When it comes to men, it is a no-brainer as every man’s name can be prefixed with a Mr, but it gets a bit complicated for women.
There are three ways of addressing women; Ms, Mrs or Miss. But which is the right way? How do you decide between Ms Vs Mrs Vs Miss? This is important and something you need to know, as you cannot make a faux pas here.
So to help you with this, we explain the differences between these three forms of addressing women so you know when to use what.
The prefix Miss is used to address young unmarried women or girls under 18. Technically any unmarried woman can be referred to as Miss, but it may seem a bit immature when addressing women of a certain age which is when it is best to use Ms, especially if the setting is formal.
Ms is the best way to address all women regardless of marital status. This is a neutral term that came about in the 1950s as women began to assert their desire to be known as individuals outside of their marital status. It gained a stronghold in the 1970s with the women’s rights movement.
Ms is pronounced Mizz like quiz and is considered the female equivalent of Mr It can be used in any setting to refer to an adult woman.
It can even be used for married women in a business setting where their marital status is unknown or unimportant. Still, generally, it is used to address/ describe women who aren’t married. So if you are unsure if a woman is married or divorced, it is safe to go with Ms.
The prefix Mrs pronounced missus is used to describe married women. A widowed woman is also referred to as Mrs. A divorced woman may also choose to be addressed by this prefix, although this may vary depending on personal preference.
Addressing Wedding and Other Invitations
Like everything else, there is a proper way to invite people to weddings and other functions. The appropriate way is the one that accords due respect and regard to those invited. Your guests are important to you, so you must care for their feelings and sentiments.
Most people face a tricky situation when they have to invite a couple. They sometimes don’t know how to address the invite. So if you are inviting a couple, it is up to you whether you want to refer to the names of the two after their respective titles (Mr Sanjay and Mrs Tina Kapoor) or simply use both titles along with the last name(Mr and Mrs Kapoor)
The latter is more formal than the former.
However, if you only invite a woman and she is married, use Mrs.
When inviting an unmarried adult woman or unsure of her marital status, you should use Ms.
If the couple to be invited is unmarried, then you should write the man’s name first, followed by the woman’s (Mr Sanjay Kapoor and Ms Tina Dhawan).
And if, despite everything, you are still unsure about whether to use Ms or Mrs, then it is best to check with the woman about how she would want to be addressed. You don’t want to offend anyone, so it is better to be sure than sorry.
And just for an extra bit of information- the plural of Ms Is Mss. Or Mses.