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Personal title

From Teflpedia

A personal title is a title used by a person as part of their personal details.

In English, the main three used are Mr, Miss and Mrs:

  • Miss is pronounced how it’s written, i.e. /ˈmɪs/.
  • Mr is sometimes written as mister and is pronounced /ˈmɪstə(r)/.
  • Mrs is sometimes informally written as missus, /ˈmɪsəz/.
  • Ms is pronounced /ˈməz/.

Traditionally, it is customary for unmarried women to use Miss and for married women and widows to use Mrs along with their husband’s surname. Note that the pronunciation of Mr and Mrs are not exactly obvious from their spelling. This aspect of traditional culture is rather sexist and therefore disliked by feminists. Women may choose to use Ms instead, as this doesn’t indicate marital status. For complete gender neutrality Mx seems to be gaining traction. Learners are typically taught (Mr+Miss+Mrs) at low levels where understanding further complexities of English is not yet required.

Other personal titles include “Dr", “Professor", “Rev.”, etc. If one happens to be a lord, knight, a dame, or the wife of a knight or lord, or the offspring of a duke, marquess or earl, one tends not to use Mr/Mrs/Miss but Sir…, Dame… Lady… Lord (Surname), etc. There are pages and pages of this in Debrett’s, but that says more about weird British social hierarchies than most people care about.

It’s generally considered more polite to call someone using their personal title, which is why it is often required in schools that students refer to their teachers as such.