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  1. #1
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    Question A question about salutations

    When writing a letter (a business letter, specifically) to a married couple, where the woman has hyphenated her maiden name and married name, how should they be addressed, and what is the proper salutation?

    For example, what would be the proper addressee and salutation for: John Smith and Jane Doe-Smith

    Thank you!
    FredL

  2. #2
    jlinger is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: A question about salutations

    Dear Friends,
    Dear Colleagues,
    Dear John and Jane,
    Dear Mr Smith and Ms Doe-Smith, [this is the proper answer in the "book"]
    or ... and this I insist is still correct because I simply don't subscribe to that hypenated nonsense:
    Dear Mr and Mrs Smith,

    If you remember nothing else, please remember that Ms is not an abbreviation and therefore NEVER requires a period after it. You may, or may not, as your preference indicates, put a period after Mr or Mrs (that depends on the continent you are addressing), but Ms is not an abbreviation and to put a period after it is simply ignorant of that fact. It's a "symbol" likg kg or ml or the like.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: A question about salutations

    Thank you kindly for your reply. I never realized that about Ms; guess you learn something every day!

    To address them as Mr and Ms doesn't make sense to me, as they are a married couple. When you say this is the proper answer in the "book", what book are you referring to? Do you know if the AP Style Book includes information on this topic?

    Personally, I agree with the Mr and Mrs Smith.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: A question about salutations

    Well, the modern method is to dispense with the formality a salutation

    'Dear John and Jane Doe-Smith'

    saves all the trouble of Mr Mrs Miss or Ms

  5. #5
    jlinger is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: A question about salutations

    If you wish to use the "modern style" and dispense with all formality, then leave the Doe-Smith off the salutation, too! Otherwise, you imply that John's name is John Doe-Smith.

    Dear John and Jane.


    A sidebar: My son, call him Jason Smith, got married one day while he was angry at me for divorcing his mother, and took his wife's name in marriage (call her Rhonda Doe), this "disowning" me and my name. So, now he's legally Jason Doe. Of course, this irritates me no end, although we have reconciled long ago (had dinner with them last night, in fact), but it remains a legal fact.

    So, when I address an envelope to them, it is always to: Jason & Rhonda Doe. I avoid, this way, of having to directly write Mr & Mrs Doe, or Jason Doe.

    Of course, it also sidesteps the other awkward question, as Rhonda is a PhD, and should therefore formally be addressed as Dr. Rhonda Doe. So would it properly be addressed to
    Mr & Dr Jason Doe?
    Mr Jason and Dr Rhonda Doe?
    Dr Rhonda and Mr Jason Doe?

    I have a client that I do have to reference frequently in writing, and his first name is Wallace (which is easily confused for a last name). His wife is The Honourable Mary. Same last name (call it Smith). And since I'm usually referencing them when I need special attention, it is always important for me to use that Honourable stuff.

    So when I reference them, it's "Mr Wallace and The Honourable Mary Smith" - and it looks like his last name is Wallace (when indeed it is Smith).

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