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When do you use Miss, Ms., and Mrs.?

When to Use Miss, Ms., and Mrs.?

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There are several terms that people use as honorifics for women. These terms have different meanings based on the woman’s civil status and age. Miss, Mrs., and Miss. Oftentimes, Miss and Ms., are commonly used interchangeably. It is very important to know how these three terms are being properly used so that addressing women of different status will be properly done so as well as to avoid offending women who were not addressed appropriately.

These three honorifics for women originated from the word “Mistress” or “Mistress of the House.” From then on, three terms emerged, Miss, Mrs., and Miss. It was in the year 1800s wherein Miss and Mrs. were being used as the same terms, however, as time goes by, these two terms no longer mean on thing. “Mrs.” has been used to appropriately to address a woman who is married while “Miss” is used to call a woman who is unmarried. Overtime, “Mistress” also was being used for another meaning, instead of “Mistress of the House,” it is now being used to refer to a lover.

Not all women prefer to use the honorifics because using honorifics deemed to imply ownership on their being. A woman called “Mrs.” is now being associated as a property of the husband while “Miss” as a property of the parents especially for younger women. That is why another term emerged to address women without having to reveal the civil status. “Ms.” was being used since 1961 wherein Sheila Michaels began using the term but it took about 10 years for the term to be popularly used. Using “Ms.” has created a new movement for feminists and they accepted the term as a general honorific for any woman of any status.
Until now, these three terms are still being used. When addressing a woman and you are unsure of her status, “Ms.” would be very appropriate. Use “Mrs.” for married and “Ms.” for unmarried. Unfortunately, some women still prefer to use the universal honorific, which is “Ms.”

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