I too would prefer Ms.
Is this just a free for all where everyone puts up a random answer no matter how wrong it is??
The poll doesn't even include correct punctuation for American/Canadian English...I'm not a teacher (so take this with a grain of salt), but somebody had to step in...
**Bottom line- this is the correct usage in America (British is the same just no periods):
"Miss" is used for young girls, unmarried women, and can be used if you are not sure whether or not they or married. It is pronounced exactly how it looks. It does not require a period since it is not an abbreviation.
"Ms." is used for unmarried women and is the default (the title one should use) if you are not sure whether or not they are married. In British English there is no period. In America, it is pronounced sort of like "miz" or "miss," thus, it is sometimes hard to differentiate by ear alone. In some other countries, it is prounced differently.
"Mrs." is used for married women (and widows). It is also used by many unmarried women in business, politics, and other positions of power or prestige. In British English there is no period. It is prounounced "missus" or "missis" (although there is no actual phonetic spelling for the word).
"Mr." is used for all men (regardless of marriage status).
These titles all came from different combinations and adaptations of Mister and Mistress. That is the most basic answer. It gets much more complicated than that as far as where the terms came from and how they've changed in usage over the years.
Good luck Misters and Misses!
I use Ms only with a woman if I don't know she is married or not.
Mrs if I know that a woman is married.
Miss with a girl that I know she is not married.
There is only one thing I have doubts about: It is also used by many unmarried women in business, politics, and other positions of power or prestige. I have come across this in Germany with Frau (=Mrs), but I have not encountered it with the English word - at least not in the UK. Perhaps capng would care to comment on this.
I use a schwa.
The same problem exists in French, too. (mademoiselle or madame) It seems only a femal problem, because the male adress doesn't discriminate between a married or unmarried man. Because of gender equality women required to abolish "mademoiselle" in official administrations. In Luxemburg they succeeded now: In future there will be no "mademoiselle" in official documents. Here the full Articel (german) wort.lu/de/view/schluss-mit-mademoiselle-4f758448e4b091a01f189eaf .