Use of ‘The Late’

When to Use ‘The Late’?

In writing the history of our organization should we present the deceased founder’s name as: The late John Smith
—-—-—-–- Darla Snyder

Ms. Snyder:

Use ‘the late’ before a name of someone who is deceased – often recently – when one wants to be respectful. For example, on a wedding program:

—-John Smith, the bride’s uncle, will give away the bride in place of her father the late Thomas Smith.

—-The groom is the son of Mrs. James K. Gifford and the late Stephen R. Gifford

Some style guides say a person can only be ‘the late’ if they have been dead less than a decade. So, in a timeless document ‘the late’ is not the right option. List the name of your founder as – (Full Name) – and note the span of years and other information after his name.
—-John Smith, founder
—-John Smith (1910-2002), founder

– Robert Hickey

Not Finding Your Question Answered?

—-#1)  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.

—-#2)  After checking the list and reading the posts, 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 or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, I will post the question & answer – always changing the names and specifics.

— Robert Hickey

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.