Guide to Use of Names, Titles, & Forms of Address




ON-LINE GUIDE TO
FORMS OF ADDRESS
* * *
BLOG: Robert HIckey
Answers Questions
From On-Line Users
* * *
VIDEO of Robert Hickey
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About the book:
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 to your country
   from a foreign country      
Ambassador of the U.S.
   by a U.S. Citizen       
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    

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
             
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  
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      
Diplomats      

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    
Etiquette    
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 Governor
   or Lt. Gov.    
First Lieutenant
   
Flag Protocol     
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 or

        US Count     
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    
     

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, British
       
Nobility, Other     
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            
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. Q&A / Blog On
       Use of Rank by
       Retired Military    
 

   3. Q&A / Blog on
       How to Address
       Retired Military   
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       
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        
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      



Robert Hickey's Blog on
Names, Titles & Forms of Address
Invitations, Introductions, Precedence, Flags, etc.


Answers to Questions From On-Line Users (like you)


Robert Hickey is Deputy Director of The Protocol School
of Washington®
and has been conducting protocol
trainings since 1988.

Site updated by Robert Hickey on August 8, 2014

Welcome To My Website.
     I’ve been teaching at The Protocol School of Washington® for 25 years and spent a decade collecting what I've learned on names, titles and forms of address into my book that has become the standard reference on the topic.
     Since the book was published in 2008, thousands of people and organizations have acquired and use it. Browse around this site, learn how to flawlessly interact with those who are high on the pecking order, and you too can become an ambassador of honor and respect.

      -- Robert Hickey

Something You Are Looking For?
 
   If you have a question on how to address a particular office/official more than 150 are listed below and to the right and on the On-Line Guide To Forms Of Address,
   You can also browse all the previously asked questions. They are saved by category, with a list of those categories at the bottom of this page. I've answered hundreds of questions, so your question may be covered there.

Here Are The Six Most Recently Asked Questions
After they've been here, I move them to a page with related questions
A list of those topics appears at the bottom of this page.


Is a Bishop Addressed as Your Grace?
     Your site says bishops and archbishops are addressed in conversation as Bishop So-and So or Archbishop So-and-So.
      Bishops and Archbishops are NEVER addressed in conversation as
Bishop So-and So or Archbishop So-and-So. They are properly addressed as Your Excellency or simply Excellency. In Ireland, according to their custom, Bishops are addressed as Your Grace; however, even in this case, Bishop is not used in conversation. Your book state only nuncios are referred to and addressed as Excellency. This is not the case. 
                   -- SM in California

Dear SM in California:

YOUR GRACE
     Addressing bishops as Your Grace is a British form of address. In the Church of England bishops are granted the precedence of a Duke ... and dukes – and thus by courtesy ... Anglican bishops – are addressed as
Your Grace. [In the United States, the American branch of the church – the Episcopal Church in the USA – addresses its bishops as the Most Reverend (Full Name) and Bishop (Surname).

EXCELLENCY
       His/Her/Your Excellency is a courtesy title used by accredited diplomats who have presented their credentials to a foreign head of state as the single designated representative from another head of state. So the Papal Nuncio (who would always have the rank of bishop) is addressed as Your Excellency ... but other bishops are not.

THE MOST REVEREND
     
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops says that U.S. Catholic bishops are correctly addressed as the Most Reverend (Full Name) and Bishop (Surname).
             -- Robert Hickey

How to Write a Bishop's Name on a Document?
          I am preparing a 'keepsake' for a my nephew who is being confirmed - and I am personalizing the piece with my nephew's name, the date of event, and the name of the celebrant: Bishop John J McIntyre.
          Which is the more appropriate written form of address for this purpose?:
                    Bishop John J. MacIntosh
          or
                    The Most Reverend John J. MacIntosh
          ~ D.M. Novak

Dear D.M.N.:
          The formal form of written address is:
                    The Most Reverend John J. MacIntosh
          The formal form to use in conversation --- or in a letter's salutation is:
                    Bishop MacIntosh
          So on the keepsake use the formal written form of his name:
                    The Most Reverend John J. MacIntosh
           -- Robert Hickey

How to Address In Conversation
A Former Speaker of the House?
     There’s a question lingering around the Capitol: What should people call Nancy Pelosi? Is it still Madame Speaker? Or is it Madame Leader, or Ms. Pelosi?
     -- TB

Dear TB:
     Former Speakers are not addressed as Speaker. They go back to whatever form of address to which they were entitled before being the Speaker and are identified, when appropriate, as “a former Speaker of the House.” Only the current office holder is addressed as
Speaker.
    The media refers to the Speaker in stories as Speaker (Name) … but this is in the third person, a shorthand to make it clear to the reader or listener to whom the journalist is referring. In direct address the correct form is Mr. Speaker or Madame Speaker.
    Here are the rules:
    #1 For offices of which there is only one office holder at a time (e.g., Prime Minister, President, Speaker, Governor, Mayor, etc.) only the current office holder is addressed by the same honorific of the office.
    Former office holders go back to whatever their honorific was before they held office. In this case the former Speaker goes back to the highest honorific to which they are entitled before becoming Speaker.  Or, in another example, Colin Powell is no longer addressed as Secretary Powell … he is back to what he was before he became the Secretary of State: General Powell.
    Ms. Pelosi, Congresswoman Pelosi, Representative Pelosi, Chairman Pelosi … whatever is her preference and pertinent to the office you are referring to her as holding, are the completely respectful, and traditional forms of address.
    #2 Offices that are held by more than one person at the same time are different. In those cases, (e.g.,  Admirals, Senators, Judges, Professors, Ambassadors, etc.). former and retired individuals DO continue to use their former honorific. Having two ambassadors or two senators in the room is not confusing.
    #3 The individual is flattered by the honorific inflation, but, when you ask them directly they say "It's not correct." Having been the singular office holder they know what it's like to have all the formers clinging to their past glory!
    -- Robert Hickey

How To Address Married Military Personnel
With the Same Rank?

     How do you address married couples in the military with the same rank.  Is it?
              Captains John and Mary Smith
     or is it?
             Captain John Smith and Captain Mary Smith
    Also what if they are married but have different last names?
 
         -- Candy J.

Dear PSC:
     I cover how to address two members of the military in Chapter Nine: Joint Forms of Address.
     l
am guessing this is a social form ... such as an invitation? And that both are captains in the same service?  O.K.? if so ...
     Outside envelope: When someone has a special title/rank .. most formally you write out their full name and you don't mix it with the other name:  So both get their rank + full name.
    But ... whose name goes first? His name? Her name? There is a protocol for this decision, and it's neither alphabetical nor ladies first. Military officers of the same rank are always ordered by seniority. One member of the couple has an earlier date of rank ... which gives that person higher precedence / greater seniority.
    I can guarantee you they have discussed this and the couple knows which of them has higher precedence/seniority by date of rank! So you need to contact them if you are determined to do it correctly.
    Since each is getting listed fully ... it does not matter if they have different last names

       
Captain John Smith
            and Captain Mary Smith  
 (if he has seniority)
                Address

        Captain Mary Smith
            and Captain John Smith   
 (if she has seniority)
                Address

    Yes, even when personnel have the same 'rank' one has seniority. If you are unsure list the man first, the woman second -- in the order established in "Mr. and Mrs."

Inside envelope:
    Captains Smith (same last name, most formally)
    Captain Smith and Captain Wilson
(different last names, more senior person listed first)
    Mary and William
(less formally if they are very close friends or family and in conversation you would be addressing them by their given names.)

 
         -- Robert Hickey 

How to Address a Pharmacist?
     Is a pharmacist addressed as Dr.
     Professionally?  Socially?

              -- Anderw

Dear Andrew,
     Usually pharmacists are not addressed as Dr. but it is not a hard and fast rule. While in a social setting I would be sensitive to the preference of the individual, but most don't seek to be addressed as Dr. (Name).
     In health care environments there is a practice that only physicians (medical doctors, vets, dentists, osteopaths, podiatrists) are addressed as
Dr. (Name) for the benefit of patients who actually do want to know which are their doctors. 
     P
eople typically use the word "doctor" and "physician" as synonyms.  So "yes" a pharmacist has a doctorate, but he/she is not a physician.
     I have heard from holders of other doctorates -- in
hospital administration, nursing, physical therapy, etc. -- who would like to be professionally addressed as Dr. (name) at the hospital.  But for the patients (like me), the practice of using Dr. only with physicians makes sense.
     On a letter, business card, or sign one could definitely include the post-nominal abbreviation and list the pharmacist's name as (Full Name), (Appropriate Post-Nominals).
    -- Robert Hickey

Retired: Spelled Out or Abbreviated?
    We have been struggling with setting up consistent prefixes and suffixes in our database for our military grads. For retired service folks should we spell our “retired” or use the “Ret.” abbreviation?  Is there a comma after the branch of service or is it “USN Ret.”

    -- Development Office, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia

Dear Fund Raiser:
    
For official correspondence DOD guides use the comma ... and either "Ret." or "Retired" is acceptable.
             Brigadier General Arthur Portnoy, USA, Retired
             Brigadier General
Arthur Portnoy, USA, Ret.
    You may want to consider for your database using the service-specific abbreviations for the ranks:
            BG
Arthur Portnoy, USA, Ret.
            BG
Arthur Portnoy, USA, Retired
    [DoD documents show the form as: (rank) (full name) (USN, USMC, or other branch) (Ret.) but that is not meant to include Ret. in parentheses.]
    DOD people like the service-specific abbreviations because they can tell that a BG is in the Army, and a BGen is a Marine.  All those
service-specific abbreviations ... USA, USN, USMC, USAF and CG .... are in my book.
   Note that the branch of service and retired status may not be necessary for what you are doing: On social correspondence (personal letters, invitations or cards) their status ... active duty, retired ... or branch of service ... is not pertinent ... and is not suggested in DOD guides.
    When "retired" IS PERTINENT is in military environments where "active duty" personnel are present.
    Say a retired officer is working at a defense contractor. It would be potentially confusing to present themselves as a "General" when in fact they are not longer a commanding officer and may be dealing with an active duty "General".   That's the logic, and in that case "Retired' is always noted.

                           -- Robert Hickey

Retired: In Parentheses or Not?
Dear Mr. Hickey,
      Regarding your advice to write one’s name when retired.
                MSgt Trevor Ross USAF (Ret.) 
      With the parentheses as shown above is the correct way to signify for retirees -- not as you advised.
 
                   -- T.R.

Dear TR:
       Thanks for your note, but I disagree. Either of these forms is correct:
            MSgt Trevor Ross, USAF, Retired
            MSgt Trevor Ross, USAF, Ret.
      Here’s why: the DoD stylebook suggests:
           (Rank) (Name), (Branch of Service), (Ret.)
      Every protocol officer I’ve polled (and that is a large number including the offices of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Secretary of the Army) all say the DoD stylebook is not suggesting to include parentheses around
Ret. anymore than it is suggesting to put parentheses around the (Rank) or (Name).
       So while I agree you do see people using the parentheses around Ret.… I follow the lead of those at the protocol officers at the top of the Pentagon .... and they all say "no parentheses."
               -- Robert Hickey


Site updated by Robert Hickey on August 8, 2014

And finally, from a rather challenging internet surfer:
 

What Authority Do You Have?
Dear Mr. Hickey:
What authority do you have for your answers
?
         --- Mary Louise Timmons

Dear Ms. Timmons:
    I'm not sure "what authority I have" but I've been teaching at The Protocol School of Washington® since 1988.
    After researching with the hierarchies of the officials, and answering questions on forms of address for so long, I guess I've gotten good at it!  What I've learned I've put in my book -- which I am pleased to say is used at lots of serious places: See http://www.formsofaddress.info/Collections.html. 

          -- Robert Hickey


Cartoon by Michael Diffee.
From The New Yorker, Volume LXXXV, Number 28, September 14, 2009.
Copyright c. 2009 Conde Nast Publications. All rights reserved.

USE OF NAMES & HONORIFICS   
Mr., Miss, Jr., III, & Names        
Married Women       
Deceased Persons         
People with Two Titles
Post-Nominal Abbreviations and Initials         
 
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, Active Duty             
       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
Business Cards       
Couples        
Etiquette
            
Flags and Anthem Protocol             
Introductions
            
Invitations: Writing & Addressing
        
Invitations: Just Armed Service Personnel        
Name Badges & Tags            
Names on Programs, Signs, & Lists            
Naming a Building or Road            
Place Cards            

Plaques, Awards, Diplomas, Certificates    
Precedence: Ordering Officials 
         
Thank You Notes             




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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 © 2013 Robert Hickey.     All Rights Reserved.
Book Photo: Marc Goodman.





All information on www.formsofaddress.info is copyright © 2013 by Robert Hickey.
The Protocol School of Washington® is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Honor & Respect is dedicated to Dorothea Johnson, Founder of The Protocol School of Washington®