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    #1

    Ma'am

    Dear teachers

    Is it appropriate to address my very senior female boss in the office "ma'am" in a conversation with her?

    Regards

    Holden

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    #2

    Re: Ma'am

    Probably. Has she not told you how she wants to be addressed?

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Ma'am

    It would be "Ma'am".

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Ma'am

    In BrE, it wouldn't work. "Ma'am" is what it is sometimes appropriate to call the Queen. You can use "Madam" in some circumstances but it's incredibly formal and I can't imagine any boss (however senior) expecting to be referred to in this way.

    Note that in BrE, "Ma'am" is pronounced "Marm" (it rhymes with arm). In AmE I believe it sounds like "Mam" but with an elongated "a".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #5

    Re: Ma'am

    Dear teachers

    Thanks very much. So shall I assume that the chauffeur addressing Lady Smallwood (not Queen) "ma'am" would be kind of over as in Sherlock (screenshot)?

    Regards

    Holden

    Click image for larger version. 

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  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Ma'am

    As far as I know, "Ma'am is a contraction of Madam, with the apostrophe replacing the d.

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Ma'am

    It is a contraction of "Madam" but they're not interchangeable in BrE.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  5. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Ma'am

    Odd.

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    #9

    Re: Ma'am

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Note that in BrE, "Ma'am" is pronounced "Marm" (it rhymes with arm). In AmE I believe it sounds like "Mam" but with an elongated "a".
    That is a common pronunciation, but when addressing the Queen, you should pronounce it with a short vowel sound, like mam​, though not many people know this.

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    #10

    Re: Ma'am

    Quote Originally Posted by holdenenglish View Post
    Thanks very much. So shall I assume that the chauffeur addressing Lady Smallwood (not Queen) "ma'am" would be kind of over as in Sherlock (screenshot)?
    It would sound dated to me. And I do use sir/madam.

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