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  1. #1
    optimistic pessimist is offline Senior Member
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    Which is more popular, "Mr and Mrs" or "Mr and Ms"?

    Dear all,
    I know "Ms" is more popular than "Mrs" nowadays because "Ms" is used regardless of marital status. However, which do you think is more poplular when you use "Mr" and "Ms" or "Mrs" as a pair, such as "Mr and Mrs Smith"? It seems to me "Mr and Ms Smith" is less polular, but this is just my impression as an English learner.

    Thank you

    OP

  2. #2
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Re: Which is more popular, "Mr and Mrs" or "Mr and Ms"?

    Quote Originally Posted by optimistic pessimist View Post
    Dear all,
    I know "Ms" is more popular than "Mrs" nowadays because "Ms" is used regardless of marital status. Yes, it may be more popular when you are referring to a lady by herself.
    However, which do you think is more poplular when you use "Mr" and "Ms" or "Mrs" as a pair, such as "Mr and Mrs Smith"? It seems to me "Mr and Ms Smith" is less polular, but this is just my impression as an English learner.
    I don't remember ever hearing "Mr and Ms". It is a very strange combination.
    Thank you

    OP
    2006

  3. #3
    bertietheblue is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Which is more popular, "Mr and Mrs" or "Mr and Ms"?

    In principle it's simple: if you know for a fact a woman is married use "Mrs"; single, use "Miss"; don't know, use "Ms".

    One thing to bear in mind: if you ever write a formal letter to a woman, for example a cover letter attaching a CV when applying for a job, always write "Dear Ms xxx" unless you have established in advance that the person is married/single, which you're hardly likely to do!

    As a general rule a woman won't be offended if you use "Ms" - it simply means "you might be married but I don't know" - but might take exception if you use "Mrs/Miss", so err on the side of caution and use "Ms" unless you know her status.

    I should say "Ms" is more common in the written form and not as often used in speech, although I do think this is gradually changing as more women stay single or divorce. In speech, obviously we only use surnames more formally but I think people slide from "Miss" to "Mrs" as a woman gets older and will use "Mrs" to address a woman beyond a certain age (when we think she may well be married) unless she corrects this. Having said that, I wouldn't be surprised if, in the age of political correctness, client-facing employees in eg banks are nowadays trained to say "Ms" when addressing a woman. Personally, I usually say "Mrs" with older women unless corrected. For example, I call the head teacher at my son's school "Mrs Bower". She might be single/divorced - of course, I would never talk to her about her personal life! - but she's not young and unless she's fiercely feminist I'm sure she won't take offence where none was intended.

    As for your example, "Mr and Mrs Smith" - they are clearly married.
    Last edited by bertietheblue; 22-May-2010 at 08:43.

  4. #4
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    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: Which is more popular, "Mr and Mrs" or "Mr and Ms"?

    As above, Mr and Mrs should only be used when you know that the couple are married.

    Mr and Ms would be unlikely as if the couple aren't married, they will have different surnames, so you wouldn't be able to put "Mr and Ms Smith" (unless by some coincidence they are unmarried couple with exactly the same surname).

    However, of course, they may be married but the lady has chosen not to change her surname. Or you might know a couple called David Smith and Sarah Jones, but you have no idea if they're married or not. In that case, you could address a letter to "Mr Smith and Ms Jones"

    I wouldn't worry too much about it. The only thing you really don't want to do is address someone as "Mrs" if you don't know for sure that she is married. That's the only real potential "faux pas" in this situation.

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Which is more popular, "Mr and Mrs" or "Mr and Ms"?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    A
    Mr and Ms would be unlikely as if the couple aren't married, they will have different surnames, so you wouldn't be able to put "Mr and Ms Smith" (unless by some coincidence they are unmarried couple with exactly the same surname).
    Or if the woman particularly objects to the term Mrs, though I doubt that this is particularly common.

  6. #6
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    Over the top is offline Member
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    Re: Which is more popular, "Mr and Mrs" or "Mr and Ms"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Or if the woman particularly objects to the term Mrs, though I doubt that this is particularly common.
    Why would a woman object Mrs?
    I know we use Ms when we don't know a woman is married or single but I know someone who signs her name as Ms so-and-so? she must know her own marital status!

  7. #7
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: Which is more popular, "Mr and Mrs" or "Mr and Ms"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Over the top View Post
    Why would a woman object Mrs?
    I know we use Ms when we don't know a woman is married or single but I know someone who signs her name as Ms so-and-so? she must know her own marital status!
    Some women object to the term "Mrs" because they believe it denotes "ownership" of a woman by a man, not equality.

    Historically, men have never changed anything about their name upon getting married, but women were always expected to change their surname to that of their husband and change their title from "Miss" to "Mrs".

    I am well aware of my own marital status (of course) but I refer to myself as Ms as I don't think it is anyone else's concern whether I am married or not.

  8. #8
    amel a is offline Newbie
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    Re: Which is more popular, "Mr and Mrs" or "Mr and Ms"?

    I think the most populare is Msr.Thank you

  9. #9
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    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Re: Which is more popular, "Mr and Mrs" or "Mr and Ms"?

    Quote Originally Posted by amel a View Post
    I think the most populare is Msr.Thank you
    I think it will depend a great deal on culture. I, too, am quite aware of my own marital status, but why should it matter to the person fixing my computer, or taking my order on the phone?

    However, to the original question, "Mr. and Mrs." when writing to married couple when the woman did choose to change her name to her husband's is standard.

    I would write "Ms. D...." in many situations, but socially we are still "Mr. and Mrs. D...."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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