How to address women whose marital status is unknown

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by foidulus, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    #1
    Like many others on here, I too have a question about women, but this time its not about romance :p

    I applied to a job and the HR person who contacted me is a woman. I didn't know how to address her, so I sidestepped the whole issue by not using her name in the email at all. However, I'm curious as to what the proper salutation is in this regard. Calling her Ms. would be bad if she was married, and also could be demeaning. Calling her Mrs. has a lot of the same issues. I could call her by her first name, but that sounds a bit too informal considering she is evaluating me for a position(though Americans tend to be overly informal) Using her whole name without any prefix just seems awkward. What do you guys do in these situations?

    Alas, she lacked a PhD or I could have just called her Dr. :p
     
  2. macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #2
    Mrs. is safe when you dont know anything about them
     
  3. macrumors 603

    quagmire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #3
    I would have said Ms. She isn't going to take it as an insult because a stranger didn't know she was married.
     
  4. macrumors 65816

    gilkisson

    #4
    Either "Ms", "Ma'am", or "Honey"... Pick the best 2 out of 3...:D
     
  5. Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #5
    Just address her as she signed off her email. It's simple.
     
  6. macrumors regular

    Joined:
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    New York
    #6
    I agree with you. While both prefixes are not ideal in the wrong situation, I think it is less offending to assume someone is not married than to assume that they are.
     
  7. macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #7
    even if they sign off like

    is it appropriate to reply
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

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  9. macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #9
    see i was always told the opposite

    have i been wrong?

    crap! as thats how ive been doing it lol
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    #10
    I usually use Ms. if I don't know marital status, but most people you know nothing about probably aren't going to get too offended if you use either one.
     
  11. macrumors member

    bwortman

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    #11
    OK the proper way is as follows:

    Miss [mis]- Young woman or a title of respect for an unmarried person

    Ms. [miz] - A title of respect prefixed to a woman's name or position: unlike Miss or Mrs., it does not depend upon or indicate her marital status.

    Mrs. [Mis-iz] - Married
     
  12. macrumors 6502

    EV0LUTION

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  13. macrumors 65816

    me_94501

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  14. macrumors 65816

    hayduke

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    is a state of mind.
    #14
    Ms. is correct. Learn something everyday, eh?
     
  15. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    #15
    She signed it (first name) Bland.

    So I guess (First name) would work, though the name Ms. Bland reminds me of all those funky avatars the mods had at one point :D
     
  16. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #16
    Ms. is the proper way. This is taught in English class.
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    #17
    From wikipedia:

    "Ms. originated in the United States and was popularized in the 1970s. In the U.S., the Emily Post Institute states that Ms. is the default form of address for business correspondence with a woman."

    My understanding:

    Mrs. if married
    Miss if unmarried
    Ms. if you don't know, or want to downplay the whole issue of marital status (such as in professional interactions).
     
  18. macrumors 68020

    Unspeaked

    Joined:
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    Location:
    West Coast
    #18
    Didn't we learn from Mel Gibson that the most correct term is "sweet lips?"
     
  19. macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #19
    apparently

    hopefully i havent looked a fool in the past:eek:
     
  20. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    #20
    I'd use Ms or if the setting was appropriate, just her full name.

    'Can I speak to Ms Thompson, please?'

    or

    'Can I speak to Judith Thompson, please?'*

    I don't think any reasonable lady would take umbrage at you using Miss/Ms/Mrs incorrectly anyways.


    *Note: this is not a reference to an ACTUAL Judith Thompson, the name has only been chosen at random by my brain for an example and any inference to Judith Thompsons real, fictional, living, dead or unusually sensitive about salutations is purely coincidental.
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

    teflon

    Joined:
    May 28, 2007
    #21
    IIRC, Ms started in the 70s as an equivalent of Mr, as you can't tell a man's marital status from Mr. A lot of married women still uses Ms, because they feel that Miss or Mrs is a little sexist since men's marital status never comes into play. So yeah Ms is always the right one to use.
     

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