How to Write a Name on an Award, Certificate. Plaque or Tombstone?



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HONOR & RESPECT

Abbess,
    Christian Orthodox       
Abbot,
    Christian Orthodox        
Accountant        
Acting Official       
Adjutant General     
Admiral
        

Admiral, Texas Navy   
Adventist Minister       
Alderman
        

Archbishop, Catholic        
Archbishop,
   Christian Orthodox        
Archdeacon, Episcopal        
Archimandrite        
Architect
Archpriest        
Ambassador, Goodwill
Ambassador of one country
   to another country      
Ambassador of the U.S.
   to another country
   by a U.S. citizen       
Ambassador of the U.S.
   to the U.K.  
American Indian Chief        
Assemblyman
   U.S., State / or           

   Assemblywoman            
Associate Justice,
   U.S. Supreme Court          
Associate Justice of a
   State Supreme Court
Astronaut      
Attorney
         
Attorney General           
Attorney General,
       Assistant   
Attorney, U.S.         
Australian Officials    
Awards, Name on an

Baron, Baroness           
British Officials,
   Royalty, Nobility     
Brother, Catholic
         
Brother,
   Christian Orthodox          
Bishop, Catholic            
Bishop,
   Christian Orthodox         
Bishop, Episcopal        
Board Member     
Boy        
Brigadier General       
Business Cards      

Canadian Officials    
Candidate    
Captain,
   USA, USAF, USMC     
Cardinal
             
Certificate, Name on a 
Chairman
    Federal Reserve      
Chairwoman      
Chancellor      
Chaplain in the
    Armed Services        
Chaplain of Congress          

Chargé d’Affaires         
Chief Executive Officer 
Chief Judge          
Chief Justice,
      U.S. Supreme Court 
Chief Justice, of a State
      Supreme Court             

Chief of Police          
Chief of Staff     

Chief Operating
   Officer          
Child
           
Chiropractor     
City Manager
   
Clergy & Religious
    Officials     
Club Official          
Colonel, Kentucky      
Colonel, USA, USAF,
    or USMC     
Commandant       
Commissioner, Court     
Commissioner
         
Commodore of a         
      Yacht Club         
Congressman, U.S.               
Congresswoman, U.S.   
Consul and or
   Consul General   
 
Consultant      
Corporate Executive         
Councilman
    Councilwoman      
Counselor (Diplomat)      
Countess     
County Officials       
Couples     
    U.S. Military
    U.S. Officials
    Private Citizens    
    Same Sex
Curator        

Dalai Lama          
Deacon         
Dean, academic            
Dean, clergy            
Deceased Persons        
Degree, honorary      
Delegate, U.S., State
            

Dentist             
Deputy Chief of Mission      
Deputy Marshal          
Designate,
Elect,
    Pro Tempore      
Diploma, Name on a   
Diplomats
     

Director      
District Attorney
          
Doctor, Chiropractor     
Doctor of Dentistry
          
Doctor of Medicine              
Doctor, Military           
Doctor of
   Veterinary Medicine          
Doctor, Optometrist   
Doctor of Osteopathy            
Doctor, Other Disciplines     
Doctorate        
Doctorate, honorary      

Earl            
Elect, Designate
  
Pro Tempore      
Emeritus/emerita
     
Eminence     
Emperor    
Engineer    
Esquire, Esq.       
Excellency           

Family     
Fiancee      
Firefighter    
First, Second,
   Third , etc .        
First Lady, Spouse
   of the President of
   the United States 
First Lady, Member
    of Her   
    White House Staff      
First Lady, Spouse
   of a U.S. Governor
   or Lt. Gov.    
First Lady, Spouse
   of a U.S. Mayor    

First Lady
   of a Church      

First Lieuten
ant
   
Former Officials    
Freeholder       

Gay Couple      
Geshe

General
    USA, USAF, USMC
Girl       

Goodwill Ambassador      
Governor General         
Governor, Lieuten
ant
 
Governor, Lt., Spouse   

Governor, Tribal Council          
Governor, U.S. State       
Governor, Former    
Governor
    Spouse of     
Governor's Staff,
    Member of
     
Governors, Board of 

High Commissioner    
Honorable, The
          
Honorary Ambassador       
Honorary degrees
Honorary doctorate
   
Honourable, The
   
 
   

Indian Chief         
Inspector General    
Interim Official   
Introductions       
Invitations
  
   Writing &  
   Addressing  
Invitations
   
Military:
    Writing &
    Addressing

Judge, former     
Judge of US City

     County or State     
Judge, US Federal            
Junior, Senior,
    I, II, III, etc
.       

Justice, Associate

     Federal
     Supreme Court

Justice, Associate

     State
     Supreme Court

King     
Knight      

Late, The
   (deceased persons)
       
Lawyer      
Lesbian Couple    
Lieutenant      
Lieutenant Colonel,     
   USA, USAF, USMC      
    
Lieutenant General,
   USA, USAF, USMC      

Lieutenant Governor    
     

Ma'am          
Major
   USA, USAF, USMC  
Major General,
   USA, USAF, USMC   
Man, business
          
Man, social
         
Marquess / Marchioness
 
 
Married Women       
Marshal for a
   Judicial District, U.S. 
Mayor, U.S. City   
Mayor, Canadian City    
Mayor Pro Tempore
     
Mayor, Vice    
Medic      
Minister,
   Protestant Clergy       
Miss      
Monk,
   Christian Orthodox     
Monsignor       
Most Reverend, The        
Mother Superior
    
Mr. (Social)      
Mr. (Business)      
Mrs., Ms. (Use, Social Forms)      
Mrs. vs. Ms.     
Mr. & Mrs. / Couples   
   

Name Badges or Tags     
Nobility, UK/British
       
Nobility, Other & Former     
Nun, Catholic
  
Nun, Orthodox
Nurse           

Officer, Police     
Optometrist     

Pastor, Christian Clergy  
Patriarch,
   Christian Orthodox  
Patriarch,
   Ecumenical Patriarch
   of Constantinople  
People with Two Titles      
Permanent
     Representative        
Petty Officer
      
Pharmacist     
Physician
        
PhD     
Place Cards            
Plaque, Name on a    
Police Chief
Police Officer                     
Pope, Catholic
  
Pope, Coptic
      
Postmaster General         
Post-Nominal
    Abbreviations    
Presbyter, Orthodox
   
President, corporate
President of
    College or
    University   
President of a
    Secondary
    School      
President of a
    US State Assembly 
President (current)
   of the U.S.A.          
President (former)
   of the U.S.A.     
     
President of the
    U.S.A., spouse of  
President-elect
    of the U.S.   
Priest, Catholic          
Priest,
    Christian Orthodox 
Priest, Episcopal        
Prime Minister
       
Principal      
Professionals
   & Academics         
Professor
     
Pro Tempore,
   Elect, Designate    
Psychologist      

Queen

Rabbi               
Ranger, Texas        
Representative,
   U.S., Federal           
Representative,
   U.S., State            
Reservist, Military      
Resident
    Commissioner 
Retired Military
   1. Formula For
       How to Address     
   2. Use of Rank by
       Retired Military    
 

   3. Q&A on
       How to Address
       Retired Military   
Retiree        
Reverend, The
      
Right Reverend, The         

Same Sex Couple      
Salvation Army    
School Board Member
     
Second
Lieutenant        
Secretary,
   U.S. Department,
   Member of the Cabinet
Secretary
   of Defense, U.S.       
Secretary, Assistant       
Secretary General
   of the U.N.            
Senator, U.S., Federal       
Senator, U.S., State         
Senator, Canadian       
Senior, Junior,
     I, II, III, etc.         
Senior Judge 
      
Sergeant       
Sergeant at Arms
          
Seventh Day
     Adventist Minister       
Sheriff       
Sister, Catholic       
Sir       

Solicitor General      
Speaker of the U.S.
   House of
   Representatives.           
Specialist       
Spouse of the
    President of the U.S.       
Spouse of the
    Vice President
    of the U.S.           
Spouse of an
    Elected Official            
State Attorney     
Surgeon General          

Texas Ranger        
Titles & Forms of
    Address, Useless?        
Tombstones, Names on
Town Justice
     
Town Manager       
The Honorable     
Tribal Officials     
Two Titles,
    Person With

Under Secretary    
US Attorney
       
US Federal Officials
     
US State Officials     
US Municipal Officials

Venerable, The        
Veteran (not Retired)         
Veterinarian
           
Very Reverend, The         
VFW Officer/Official    
Vice Mayor       
Vice President
    of the U.S.
Spouse of the
    Vice President
   
of the U.S.
Vice President-elect
    of the U.S.      
 
Viscount and/or
   Viscountess        

Warrant Officer       
Widow
     
White House Staff    
Woman, business        
Woman, social        

Yacht Club Officer      


 

How to Write a Name on a
Plaque, Award, Diploma or Certificate

Questions & Answers, Frequently Asked Questions, and Blog

Site updated by Robert Hickey on 18 February 2017

See also: How to Write a Name on a Tombstone or Grave Marker

How to Write a Name on a
Diploma, Award, Plaque or Certificate?

       How would I engrave a name on a plaque for someone who was a governor? Governor Joe Smith?
               -- Norma @ Midway

      We are giving a retiring local physician a certificate.  How should we would write his name on the certificate? Do we use Dr. Joe Smith (Retired)?
               -- Tim, Vienna, VA

       A  District Court judge will be the speaker at our graduation ceremony and we will present him with an award we give annually.  I was wondering whether to put J.D. after his name on the award? Is it Joe A. Smith?  Or is it Joe A. Smith, JD?
               -- Roger M. in Arkansas

Dear Norma, Tim & Roger,
     The way to do it is just to list their full name:
                (Full Name)
     If they are a "Jr." or a "III" that's part of their name. But other than that, nothing,
     Nothing before their name (no rank, no honorific, no courtesy title) and nothing after their name (no academic or any other kind of post-nominals abbreviation for an honor or professional membership).
     Inscribing a plaque, award or certificate with
just their name emphasizes that the award is for the individual without reference to any office or position they might hold or have held. The honor is to them without regard to how their name might be written at a particular time in their life.

      -- Robert Hickey

Should I Put An Official's Office On a Plaque?
 
       I sit on the board of a local community organization and am preparing appreciation plaques for several Virginia State Senators and members of the Virginia House of Delegates. Is it appropriate to just use their names (without titles) on the plaques, or should we use the name of their office as well?
        If we should use the names of their offices if they hold more than one, which one(s) are appropriate?
 
        We have always used some sort of title/office in the past.
 
        -- Karen Snell, M.D. / in Central Virginia

Dear Dr. Snell:
       If you have always presented your plaques with the office listed, I say stay consistent. Since you are honoring them for actions taken while in office ... exercising powers or privileges that might accompany their office .... and it's consistent with your style to write their name & office, use something like this:
                   The Honorable (Full Name)
                   (Name of Office)

       If they hold two offices -- include only the office or offices pertinent to the award. 
        -- Robert Hickey

How to Write the Name of a Deceased Person
On a Certificate of Recognition?

       Our parish is celebrating its 50th Anniversary. We are giving Certificates of Recognition to honor our Founding Parishioners.  My question is how to list a couple when one person is deceased?  The committee recommends putting the living person’s name first, following by the deceased spouse.
        Example:
       
        If the husband is deceased: Mary & Joseph Smith
                If the wife is deceased: Joseph & Mary Smith
 
       After reading your online information under “Deceased,” I don’t think this is correct.
 
       Should it be:
 
              Mary & the late Joseph Smith (if the husband is deceased)
                        and
              The late Mary & Joseph Smith (if the husband is deceased)
 
       Or can it be:
 
              Mary & Joseph (cross) Smith (if the husband is deceased);
                        and

       
       Mary (cross) & Joseph Smith (if the wife is deceased).
       It is common in our Church to designate someone is deceased by placing a small cross after their name.
              -- Powell Dean

Dear Mr. Dean:
      
The committee's suggested style is something I have never heard of, and don't think makes much sense.
       If you are honoring the founding parishioners -- I would list their names without reference to whether the are alive or dead: they were alive when they were founding to the parish!

              Thomas James Smith and Mary Wilson Smith
      
       Mary and Thomas Smith

      I question why it's necessary to note who is living and who is dead -- how is this pertinent? Does the committee want historians to be able to look back and know who was alive at the 50th Anniversary Celebration?
       -- Robert Hickey

May One Add Post-Nominals to One's Name Retroactively?
         Can a person who is awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in 2010, put the post-nominal MBE after his name on ''winners'' boards showing that he won golf competitions, prior to him receiving the award of the MBE?  This has generated a lot of discussion in the Golf Club and your advise would be warmly welcomed.
        -- Jeff Hardison

Dear Mr. Hardison:
        It would be odd to rewrite history to include honors and decorations received later in one's life. It makes me wonder if an Nobel Laureate can go back and have himself listed as such as the presenter of his high school valedictory speech?
        I think you are located in the UK, and the British tradition is to include more post-nominals ... in more situations ... than we do in the US. But including the post-nominal abbreviations on a golf record in any circumstance is an odd policy to me. Are the post-nominals of MDs and others holding graduate degrees and certifications included on list?
        In the US post-nominals are used with official situations (regarding one's work) -- but not in personal/social situations.
        And even in official situations post-nominals are included just when PERTINENT: E.g., a person with masters in library science would include the post-nominal on a business card if working as a librarian, but if working as an interior decorator ... would not ... because the degree does not support their performance of the activity.  
        For example, even though MDs tend to use MDs all the time, my Uncle Robert was an MD -- won his country club's championship and was listed simply as (First Name) (Last name) on the plaque in the clubhouse. No. "Dr."  No "MD"
        Let me know if this approach makes sense to you.
        I'd like to be a fly on a wall during your golf club discussions!
        -- Robert Hickey

Dear Robert,
        Thank you for your prompt reply which I find most illuminating. It is not the policy of the Club to use post-nominal abbreviations, as one of my playing partners is also an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) and he does not have this after his name on the Honour's board. Naturally he started the conversation, as he keeps the award rather discreet. I feel that your last comment makes eminent sense to me and will keep you appraised of the situation (out of curiosity) if you so wish.
         -- Jeff

How to Write a Couple's Name on a List?
          We are working on formalizing our donor wall at the museum at which I work.  I wish to list couples with first name, middle initial, last name and suffix (assuming they have all of these).  We typically list the man first, unless the woman has a different last name in which case she goes first.  I am struggling with how to address a couple with the same last name, but the man has a suffix.  Would it write John M. and Jane L. Smith, Jr.  or Jane L. and John M. Smith, Jr.  or something else?
       -- SB

Dear SB,
     Clearly the problem with those two options is that she is not Jane L. Smith, Jr.
     I note at the New York museums — where have looked to see what they do … they use three forms.   The first two are formal, the third one informal:
          Mr. and Mrs. John M. Smith, Jr.
          John M. Smith, Jr. and Jane L. Smith
    
     Jane and John Smith
     The middle one is explained as retaining the "Mr. and Mrs." order
     This last one is usually explained as 'keeping his name as a unit"
     So back to the New York museums. So I am looking at the wall, trying to figure out their rules, and right there in the middle of the list is something completely different! I assume when I see a wild card -- they used what the donor put on the pledge form. If I have to choose between making the editor/committee happy — and the donor … I would vote for the donor. It's the donor's name, it is their donation, and they should be happy.
     Another form you see when couples have different names … man & woman or single sex couple is:  Jane L. Apple and Susan M. Zappa.
       --  Robert Hickey


See also: How to Write a Name on a Tombstone or Grave Marker


Not Finding Your Question Answered?
Below are other topics covered in my blog and at right is a list of officials, Between the two I probably have what you are looking for.
     After hunting around a bit, if you don't see your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day (unless I am traveling.)
      If I think your question is of interest to others, I will post the question & answer – with your name and any personal specifics changed.
      -- Robert Hickey

USE OF NAMES & HONORIFICS   
Mr., Miss, Jr., III, & Names        
Married Women       
Deceased Persons         
People with Two Titles
Post-Nominal Abbreviations and Initials         
Sequence Post-Nominal Abbreviations: Sr., Jr., etc.    
 
Couples: Private Citizens / Joint Forms of Address 
Couples: U.S. Military / Joint Forms of Address     
Couples: U.S. Officials / Joint Forms of Address      

USE OF SPECIFIC OFFICIAL TITLES        
Former Officials            
Professionals and Academics        

United States Federal Officials, Currently In Office             
United States State Officials, Currently In Office              
United States Municipal Officials, Currently In Office             
       All About The Honorable with U.S. Officials         
       Former United States Officials of all types             
United States Armed Services
       Addressing Active Duty Personnel              
       Addressing Retired Personnel      
       Use of Rank by Retired Personnel      
       Use of Rank by Veterans      

Tribal Officials 
           
Clergy and Religious Officials           
Canadian Officials         
Australian Officials          
British Officials, Royalty, and Nobility        
Diplomats and International Representatives
           
Foreign National Officials and Nobility        

SPECIFIC SITUATIONS
Author's Name on His/Her Book       
Business Cards, Names on
,       
Couples           
  
Introductions, Names in
           
Invitations: Names on
       
Invitations: Names of Armed Service Personnel on        
Name Badges & Tags            
Names on Programs, Signs, & Lists            
Naming a Building or Road            
Place Cards            

Plaques, Awards, Diplomas, Certificates, Names on    
Precedence: Ordering Officials 
         
Tombstones, Names on      


Site updated by Robert Hickey on 18 February 2017


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Robert Hickey is the author of Honor & Respect:
The Official Guide to Names, Titles, and Forms of Address
Published by The Protocol School of Washington®
Foreword by Pamela Eyring

Copyright © 2016 Robert Hickey.     All Rights Reserved.
Book Photo: Marc Goodman.