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




ON-LINE GUIDE TO
FORMS OF ADDRESS
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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 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      



Robert Hickey's Blog on
Names, Titles & Forms of Address
Invitations, Introductions, Precedence, 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 June 13, 2016

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.


How to List a Couple's Name When He is a Jr. or Sr.?
       When writing a couple's name would you write Charles Henry, Sr. and Daisy Ellis Rivers. Or would it be Charles Henry and Daisy Ellis Rivers, Sr.

            -- Betsy Mizner @ yahoo.com

      I am preparing programs for my wedding. We are listing our grandparents who have passed. My grandfather was a junior.  However, my grandmother, his wife, is also deceased.  Where do we put the junior as to not confuse him with the other men with those names?
      Example:  Jane and Thomas Smith, Jr. (?) or Thomas and Jane Smith, Jr.
(?)
            -- Kristen Smith

Dear Ms. Mizner & Ms. Smith:
       When one combines names ... as in ... Jane and Thomas Smith or
Charles Henry and Daisy Rivers ... these are casual, informal forms.
       The casual forms are sort of a free style ... there are no rules.  But with casual forms, the names can't be done as elegantly and consistently as they can when using formal forms. That's what the formal forms were developed to do ... to be consistent and elegant.
       #1 The traditional form for a married couple is:
              Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Smith Jr.
      
      
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Rivers, Sr.
       #2 When you want to include both given names ... both her name and his ... write each name fully and do not combine them:
              Thomas Smith, Jr. and Jane Smith
             
Charles Henry Rivers, Sr. and Daisy Ellis Rivers
     
In such a listing, the and between their names indicates they are married/are a couple because individuals who are not married/are a couple are listed separately / not listed together.
              -- Robert Hickey

How to Address a State Secretary of a Department?
      I am addressing an invitation to the secretary of our state's Dept. of Agriculture, trade and Consumer Protection. How do I address a state-level official? Is he The Honorable?  Do I start the letter with Dear Hon. (Surname)?  Thank you.
           -- PD

Dear PD:
       On the envelope or the letter's address block use The Honorable. 
      
"The Honorable" is a courtesy title, and it always precedes a full name.  In the USA, officials elected in a general election are entitled to be addressed as The Honorable (Full Name).
      {It’s consistently done at the federal level & state level, though here and there smaller municipalities sometimes by local tradition, dispense with it.
}
      So a secretary of a cabinet-level department -- federal or state -- is addressed on the outside envelope as:
  
             The Honorable (Full Name)
               (Complete Address)
     In the salutation, Dear Hon. (Surname) is not correct.
     Hon. is not used as an honorific before a name as is Mr., Dr., Senator, Commissioner, General, etc.

      The traditional and formal salutation to a federal secretary would be:
               Dear Mr./Madame Secretary:
      A slightly less formal form is:
               Dear Secretary (Surname):
      When I was researching my book I polled a number of state secretaries ... and they unanimously preferred "Secretary (Surname)" rather than "Mr./Madame Secretary".  One state secretary expressed it this way: there is only one US Secretary of our discipline in the cabinet in Washington ... but there are 50 of us at the state level ... so the singular title makes less sense.
 
         -- Robert Hickey

How Do I Write a Name on a Headstone?
      Daughters of a deceased United States Air Force Colonel have asked for my help for the wording on a headstone/gravestone. I am thinking of:.
                                     Col. John Patrick Delaney
                                            USAF, Retired

            -- Betty

        I want to purchase a paver (a personalized brick) in a local veterans memorial for my grandfather.  He retired from the United States Army as a CW4.  His name is Harold E Copper.  Any ideas?
            -- JB

       Is it O.K. to put Esq. after my father's name on his headstone? He was very proud of being an attorney.
            -- Katie Dorset

        My father was a physician. On his grave marker should I put Dr. before his name? Or MD after his name?
            -- Bruce

Dear Betty, JB, Katie, and Bruce:
    Deceased persons just have their their NAME on grave markers. 
    Honorifics (Mr., Mrs., Dr., etc.), ranks (captain, major, etc.), courtesy titles (excellency. honorable or reverend), and academic and other post-nominal abbreviations (MD, PhD, RN, etc.) – which are parts of a person's name at various times during their lives –  are not included. The marker is for their whole life and their name was what they had the entire time.
     I'm not saying you don't see these elements included every now and then, but it's not what's traditional.
     When there is a desire to note roles and ranks they held during their lives – these are listed afterward their name.
     Military tombstones are a good model.   In military cemeteries stones bear just the deceased NAME and other information, such as rank and branch of service, follows.
     "Retired" is never included. It was pertinent when the person was living and necessary to note that the person was not on active duty.
     So, if the family wants ranks or roles noted, the traditional style would be:
 
         (Full Name)
          Rank, Branch of Service

      Or:
          John Patrick Delaney
          Colonel USAF
      Or:

          Harold E Copper
          CW4 USA
      Or:
          John J Pershing
          General of the Armies of the United States

      Or:
          Theodore Isen
          Husband, Father and Friend
    
See the photos below.
          -- Robert Hickey

How to Use Emeritus?
How do I address/write my former Pastor's name on an envelope?  Is he the Reverend (Full Name), Emeritus Pastor? Or is it Pastor Emeritus (Name)?
          -- C.F.

I want to want to create a an "emeritus list" of our retired executives. Who gets included on such a list? Are they still emeritus when they pass away?
         -- R.K.

Dear C.F. & R.K.,
When someone is emeritus, the form to use is: (Full Name), (Office) Emeritus/a.
       This form of address is used on a list published by, or on a document used by, the organization to note that there is a continuing relationship with the individual. 
       Emeritus
  or (Office) Emeritus are used after the name for identification. They are not used in writing before the name (as an honorific), as part of the name in a salutation, or orally in conversation.
      Emeritus is only used with the names of the living.  When they are deceased it's better to list them as
(Full Name), (Office) Year-Year  e.g., (Full Name), Professor of French 1980-2010
      1) Emeritus implies a continuing relationship with an organization. At universities while a Professor Emeritus/a might not have same teaching schedule ….. he or she would keep a ID card, faculty discounts, continue to be seated and be recognized at graduations, be listed as a member of the faculty in the catalog, still use the faculty dining room, have access to the university clinic, library, & athletic facilities, even have an office and serve on committees. In a religious community, if someone is the pastor emeritus a congregation, it is the congregation which grants the title
     2) Retired & emeritus are not the same. The organization specifically grants the title. It is not automatically granted to everyone who retires.

          -- Robert Hickey

Should I Use USMC, Retired or USMCR, Retired:
       Should I list myself as Major, USMCR (retired) or Major, USMC (retired)?
             -- Paul

Dear Paul,
 
  Before you retired noting your reserve status was pertinent.  But now that you are retired, you are simply retired from the "service".  Your question is about the U.S. Marines, but the pattern is the same in all the U.S. armed services.
    The direct forms of address suggested by the DOD manuals are as follows, without parentheses:
         Major Paul J. Dexter, USMC, Retired
            Or:
         Major Paul J. Dexter, USMC, Ret.
    Sometimes you see in a list of names:
         Paul J. Dexter (Major, USMC, Retired)
    ... but that's not a direct form of address. It would be an editorial style if other names appeared without honorifics and somehow your retired status was pertinent.

     I don't know of a U.S. Marine Corps directive/regulation, but the U.S. Army has one. It says that all Army reservists assigned who retire will use “USA, Retired.”
     
       -- Robert Hickey

What DoD Directive Forbids Use of Ranks by Retired or Reserve Personnel in Commercial Enterprises? 
Can a Retired Officer Use His/Her Rank at a Commercial Enterprise?

    I am working on an informal publication that will be published by the Defense Department and I need to list members who participated in some of the work. The members include retired military, retired government civilians, persons with academic degrees (PhDs), etc.
      I just looked at you website and I have a question .You reference a directive “the DoD directive you refer to forbids the use by retired personnel of a military rank in any sort of commercial enterprise.”  Do you know the exact citation for the directive?

 
         -- Writing Away @ the Institute for Defense Analyses

Dear WA@TIFDA:
    Note: JER is the Joint Ethics Regulations.
    JER, para. 2-304 concerns use of ranks
  
"Use of Military Title by Retirees or Reserves. Retired military members and members of Reserve Components, not on active duty, may use military titles in connection with commercial enterprises, provided they clearly indicate their retired or inactive Reserve status. However, any use of military titles is prohibited if it in any way casts discredit on DoD or gives the appearance of sponsorship, sanction, endorsement, or approval by DoD."
     "In addition, in overseas areas, commanders may further restrict the use of titles by retired military members and members of Reserve Components."

   Here is an U.S. Army regulations that is related. Army Regulation 25-50, paragraph 6-6, paragraph d. The regulation refers to retired personnel in a post-retirement job among active-duty personnel but in which they are not on active-duty "Army retirees serving as DA (Department of the Army) civilians will not use or refer to their military grade or rank except when referring to their personal retirement actions."
    DODI 5410.20
concerns use of uniforms or insignia
    Paragraph 7 lists criteria to determine whether the best interests of the Government and DoD are enhanced by use of DoD materials, uniforms and insignia by anyone other than the Government and DoD.  Any use of identifiably DoD material outside a a DoD environment is limited.
    DODI 1334.01 concerns wearing of uniforms:
    "It is DoD policy that:
        3.1. The wearing of the uniform by members of the Armed Forces (including retired members and members of Reserve components) is prohibited under any of the following circumstances:
            3.1.2. During or in connection with furthering political activities, private employment or commercial interests, when an inference of official sponsorship for the activity or interest may be drawn."
 
                 -- Robert Hickey

Here is the formula for any spouse of The President from my book:

How to Address the First Lady, or
How to Address the Spouse of
The President of the United States

Traditionally the wife of a President of the United States (POTUS), who uses the same surname as the POTUS, is addressed in writing as Mrs. (surname only).  So, that's the format I suggest below. 
     If she were to have as elevated form of address (honorific or courtesy title), e.g. Dr. or The Honorable, she would be addressed in writing as Dr. (her given name + surname)
or The Honorable (her given name + surname).
     A husband of a POTUS would be addressed in writing using the same pattern, except – if he used the same surname he would be Mr. (full name)
If he had some elevated form of address, e.g. Dr. or The Honorable, he would be addressed in writing using the same pattern as noted in the paragraph above ––  Dr. (his given name + surname) or The Honorable (his given name + surname). I have more detailed information in my book if this sort of question comes up often.

Envelope, official:  (See note above)
    Mrs. (surname)
       
The White House
            1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
                   Washington, DC 20500

    Mr. (full name)
       
The White House
            1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
                   Washington, DC 20500

Letter salutation: (See note above)
    Dear Mrs./Mr. (surname):

How Do I Address an Acting Governor?
    
How do you introduce a Lt. Governor when he or she is -- at that moment -- the Acting Governor?
     Is he or she addressed in conversation or orally introduced as Acting Governor (Name)?
             -- FG

 
Hi FG:
    It could be important to identify the person as the acting governor, but the term is not used in oral address as in
Acting Governor (Surname).
    An a
cting governor is not formally addressed orally as
Governor (Name)
: He or she is not actually The Governor.
    Orally address an acting governor with the honorific to which her or she is entitled – based on the office he or she actually holds. E.g.,
Mr./Ms. is the typical honorific used with addressing a lieutenant governor.
    While he or she is not directly addressed in conversation as
Acting Governor (Surname) one might refer to him or her as that in the third person, such as: ...the Acting Governor (name) will be arriving in 20 minutes.
    AND when formally introducing an acting governor say: May I present the Honorable (Full Name), Acting Governor of (Official Name of State).
            -- Robert Hickey

Site updated by Robert Hickey on June 13, 2016

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         
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      




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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.





All information on www.formsofaddress.info is copyright © 2016 by Robert Hickey. All rights reserved.
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®