The Protocol School of Washington

Robert Hickey’s On-Line
Guide to Forms of Address

At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.  These postings are a combination of forms of address for the most searched for officials and replies to questions sent to Robert Hickey, Deputy Director of The Protocol School of Washington® and author of Honor & Respect: the Official Guide to Names, Titles, and Forms of Address.

The book is over 550 pages of government, military, religious, academic, diplomatic and other forms of address.   What is on the site is but a small fraction of what’s in the book. For more correct forms of address for other official on invitations, place cards, name badges, introductions, conversation, and all other formal uses, refer to Honor & Respect: the Official Guide to Names, Titles, and Forms of Address.

Trending Searches

Here are recently top-ranked topics on this site.

  1. How to Write the Names of Deceased Persons
  2. How to Address Retired Military Personnel
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  4. How to Address a Medical Doctor (M.D.)
  5. How to Address a Professor
  6. How to Address a State Representative 
  7. How to Address a U.S. Representative
  8. How to Use the Honorable
  9. How to Address a Lawyer
  10. How to Use Post-Nominal Abbreviations
  11. How to Address a University Dean

Don’t see what you are looking in this list?  Look at the full list in blue at right if you are reading this on a desktop, at the bottom of this and every page on a tablet or phone.

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

Robert Hickey, "Honor & Respect"

A Recent Question & Answer

Isn't a Catholic Bishop Addressed as Excellency?

It seems that in practice Catholic archbishops and bishops are routinely addressed as "His/Your Excellency", even in documents, letters, and speeches coming from the Pope.  Is this just a lack of awareness of the proper etiquette or has the practice evolved?

---------------– Kevin D.

Dear Kevin D.: Well, I too have seen Catholic bishops and archbishops addressed as Your Excellency.  But if you ask the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and look at the biographies of U.S. Catholic bishops and archbishops on their own websites – they use The Most Reverend (Full Name) and the somewhat less formal Most Reverend (Full Name).

Sometimes there is an Official Style Manual issued by the organization.  If not, here's what I do – (1) I go the headquarters and ask “how do you prefer to have the members of your hierarchy addressed?” (2) Then I check other first-rate sources to confirm.  What is recommended and what I see in use by the best sources is the form I publish.

(1) So The Most Reverend is what the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says is correct for others to use. (2) Then I called lots of bishops offices and asked the same question. Typically the public affairs writer or the Bishop’s secretary really know the answer. They are the most aware of formal forms of address in writing. A bishop's receptionist will be cooperative and give you a quick answer, but they may not really know.

I follow the process every time.  This is what I use when contacting the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or the Sikhs, the U.S. Armed Services or the European Union.

 – Robert Hickey     How to Address a Roman Catholic Bishop

On-Line Guide to Forms of Address   On-Line Guide to Forms of Address     On-Line Guide to Forms of Address

Robert Hickey, "Honor & Respect"

The Protocol School of Washington (PSOW) was founded in 1988 and offers open-enrollment, classroom-based programs where students learn to become a licensed Intercultural Etiquette and Protocol Trainer, or can earn a certificate in operational protocol by completing Protocol Officer Training. Private, on-site training is also available to provide tailored training solutions. In 2020, PSOW launched online, instructor-led training to meet the needs of students worldwide.

PSOW has offices in: Washington, DC; Columbia, SC; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The school is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) and provides international protocol, cross-cultural awareness, business etiquette, and image training preparing professionals to build lasting business relationships.


Protocol and Diplomacy International – Protocol Officers Association promotes the protocol profession and raises awareness of its central role in business and diplomacy through education and networking. PDI-POA’s mission is to share the highest level of collective expertise, training, information and advice regarding accepted rules of protocol. PDI-POA is committed to facilitating communication, understanding and cooperation among individuals, governments and cultures around the globe.