Letter writing etiquette dear sir or mame


Abbess,
    Christian Orthodox       
Abbot,
    Christian Orthodox        
Accountant        
Acting Official       
Adjutant General     
Admiral         
Admiral, Texas Navy   
Adventist Minister       
Alderman         
Archbishop, Catholic        
Archbishop,
   Christian Orthodox        
Archdeacon, Episcopal        
Archimandrite        
Architect
Archpriest        
Ambassador, Goodwill
Ambassador of one country
   to another country      
Ambassador of the U.S.
   to another country
   by a U.S. citizen       
Ambassador of the U.S.
   to the U.K.  
American Indian Chief        
Assemblyman
   U.S., State / or           
   Assemblywoman            
Assistant Secretary
Associate Justice,
   U.S. Supreme Court          
Associate Justice of a
   State Supreme Court
Astronaut      
Attorney         
Attorney General           
Attorney General,
       Assistant   
Attorney, U.S.         
Australian Officials    
Awards, Name on an

Baron, Baroness           
British Officials,
   Royalty, Nobility     
Brother, Catholic         
Brother,
   Christian Orthodox          
Bishop, Catholic            
Bishop,
   Christian Orthodox         
Bishop, Episcopal        
Board Member     
Boy        
Brigadier General       
Business Cards      

Canadian Officials    
Candidate    
Captain,
   USA, USAF, USMC     
Cardinal             
Certificate, Name on a 
Chairman
    Federal Reserve      
Chairwoman      
Chancellor      
Chaplain in the
    Armed Services        
Chaplain of Congress          
Chargé d’Affaires         
Chief Executive Officer 
Chief Judge          
Chief Justice,
      U.S. Supreme Court 
Chief Justice, of a State
      Supreme Court             
Chief of Police          
Chief of Staff     
Chief Operating
   Officer          
Child            
Chiropractor     
City Manager    
Clergy & Religious
    Officials     
Club Official          
Colonel, Kentucky      
Colonel, USA, USAF,
    or USMC     
Commandant       
Commissioner, Court     
Commissioner         
Commodore of a         
      Yacht Club         
Congressman, U.S.               
Congresswoman, U.S.   
Consul and or
   Consul General    
Consultant      
Corporate Executive         
Councilman
    Councilwoman      
Counselor (Diplomat)      
Countess     
County Officials       
Couples     
    U.S. Military
    U.S. Officials
    Private Citizens    
    Same Sex
Curator        

Dalai Lama          
Deacon         
Dean, academic            
Dean, clergy            
Deceased Persons        
Degree, honorary      
Delegate, U.S., State            
Dentist             
Deputy Chief of Mission
Deputy Marshal
Deputy Secretary      
Designate, Elect,
    Pro Tempore      
Diploma, Name on a   
Diplomats      
Director      
District Attorney           
Doctor, Chiropractor     
Doctor of Dentistry           
Doctor of Medicine              
Doctor, Military           
Doctor of
   Veterinary Medicine          
Doctor, Optometrist   
Doctor of Osteopathy            
Doctor, Other Disciplines     
Doctorate        
Doctorate, honorary      

Earl            
Elect, Designate
   Pro Tempore      
Emeritus/emerita      
Eminence     
Emperor    
Engineer    
Esquire, Esq.       
Excellency           

Family     
Fiancee      
Firefighter    
First, Second,
   Third , etc .        
First Lady, Spouse
   of the President of
   the United States 
First Lady, Member
    of Her   
    White House Staff      
First Lady, Spouse
   of a U.S. Governor
   or Lt. Gov.    
First Lady, Spouse
   of a U.S. Mayor    
First Lady
   of a Church      
First Lieutenant   
Former Officials    
Freeholder       

Gay Couple      
Geshe
General
    USA, USAF, USMC
Girl       
Goodwill Ambassador      
Governor General         
Governor, Lieutenant 
Governor, Lt., Spouse   
Governor, Tribal Council          
Governor, U.S. State       
Governor, Former    
Governor
    Spouse of     
Governor's Staff,
    Member of      
Governors, Board of 

High Commissioner    
Honorable, The          
Honorary Ambassador       
Honorary degrees
Honorary doctorate    
Honourable, The       

Indian Chief         
Inspector General    
Interim Official   
Introductions       
Invitations  
   Writing &  
   Addressing  
Invitations
    Military:
    Writing &
    Addressing

Judge, former     
Judge of US City
     County or State     
Judge, US Federal            
Junior, Senior,
    I, II, III, etc .       
Justice, Associate
     Federal
     Supreme Court
Justice, Associate
     State
     Supreme Court

King     
Knight      

Late, The
   (deceased persons)        
Lawyer      
Lesbian Couple    
Lieutenant      
Lieutenant Colonel,     
   USA, USAF, USMC          
Lieutenant General,
   USA, USAF, USMC      
Lieutenant Governor         

Ma'am          
Major
   USA, USAF, USMC  
Major General,
   USA, USAF, USMC   
Man, business           
Man, social          
Marquess / Marchioness  
Married Women       
Marshal for a
   Judicial District, U.S. 
Mayor, U.S. City   
Mayor, Canadian City    
Mayor Pro Tempore      
Mayor, Vice    
Medic      
Minister,
   Protestant Clergy       
Miss      
Monk,
   Christian Orthodox     
Monsignor       
Most Reverend, The        
Mother Superior     
Mr. (Social)      
Mr. (Business)      
Mrs., Ms. (Use, Social Forms)      
Mrs. vs. Ms.     
Mr. & Mrs. / Couples       

Name Badges or Tags     
Nobility, UK/British       
Nobility, Other & Former     
Nun, Catholic  
Nun, Orthodox
Nurse           

Officer, Police     
Optometrist     

Pastor, Christian Clergy  
Patriarch,
   Christian Orthodox  
Patriarch,
   Ecumenical Patriarch
   of Constantinople  
People with Two Titles      
Permanent
     Representative        
Petty Officer       
Pharmacist     
Physician        
PhD     
Place Cards            
Plaque, Name on a    
Police Chief
Police Officer                     
Pope, Catholic  
Pope, Coptic      
Postmaster General         
Post-Nominal
    Abbreviations    
Presbyter, Orthodox   
President, corporate
President of
    College or
    University   
President of a
    Secondary
    School      
President of a
    US State Assembly 
President (current)
   of the U.S.A.          
President (former)
   of the U.S.A.           
President of the
    U.S.A., spouse of  
President-elect
    of the U.S.   
Priest, Catholic          
Priest,
    Christian Orthodox 
Priest, Episcopal        
Prime Minister        
Principal      
Professionals
   & Academics         
Professor     
Pro Tempore,
   Elect, Designate    
Psychologist      

Queen

Rabbi               
Ranger, Texas        
Representative,
   U.S., Federal           
Representative,
   U.S., State            
Reservist, Military      
Resident
    Commissioner 
Retired Military
   1. Formula For
       How to Address     
   2. Use of Rank by
       Retired Military      
   3. Q&A on
       How to Address
       Retired Military   
Retiree        
Reverend, The       
Right Reverend, The         

Same Sex Couple      
Salvation Army    
School Board Member      
Second Lieutenant        
Secretary,
   U.S. Department,
   Member of the Cabinet
Secretary
   of Defense, U.S.       
Secretary, Assistant       
Secretary General
   of the U.N.            
Senator, U.S., Federal       
Senator, U.S., State         
Senator, Canadian       
Senior, Junior,
     I, II, III, etc.         
Senior Judge        
Sergeant       
Sergeant at Arms           
Seventh Day
     Adventist Minister       
Sheriff       
Sister, Catholic       
Sir       
Solicitor General      
Speaker of the U.S.
   House of
   Representatives.           
Specialist       
Spouse of the
    President of the U.S.       
Spouse of the
    Vice President
    of the U.S.           
Spouse of an
    Elected Official            
State Attorney     
Surgeon General          

Texas Ranger        
Titles & Forms of
    Address, Useless?        
Tombstones, Names on
Town Justice      
Town Manager       
The Honorable     
Tribal Officials     
Two Titles,
    Person With

Under Secretary       
US Attorney        
US Federal Officials      
US State Officials     
US Municipal Officials

Venerable, The        
Veteran (not Retired)         
Veterinarian           
Very Reverend, The         
VFW Officer/Official    
Vice Mayor       
Vice President
    of the U.S.
Spouse of the
    Vice President
   
of the U.S.
Vice President-elect
    of the U.S.        
Viscount and/or
   Viscountess        

Warrant Officer       
Widow      
White House Staff    
Woman, business        
Woman, social        

Yacht Club Officer      


   

How to Use "Sir" an "Ma'am"?

How to Use Sir and Ma'am?
      I have been wondering about the use of the word “Sir”.  I call men Sir often and it results in negativity instead of my actual intention.  Would you be so kind as to elaborate on the proper use of the word Sir?
            -- S.L.

Dear S.L.
      Sir and Ma'am are formal. 
      In hierarchical organizations and environments these are signs of respect.  For example, in the armed services it's standard to address anyone of higher in rank by (Rank)+(Name) first, then as Sir/Ma'am thereafter.
      In formal households children might be taught to address their elders and Sir and Ma'am. Thus by many it is appropriate to use them when addressing someone -- older.
      I take a spin class every Saturday — the instructor always calls me Sir … Because (I think it is his reasoning) he has noticed that I am by far the oldest person in class! I think it's funny, but I bet not everyone would.
      If someone is reacting negatively, they probably are very egalitarian and don't like that you are lowering yourself / putting them higher — or they think you are implying they are old.
      Try just Good Morning rather than Good Morning, Sir.
                   -- Robert Hickey

Not Finding Your Question Answered?
Below are other topics covered in my blog and at right is a list of officials, Between the two I probably have what you are looking for.
     After hunting around a bit, 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 (unless I am traveling.)
      If I think your question is of interest to others, I will post the question & answer – with your name and any personal specifics changed.
      -- Robert Hickey

USE OF NAMES & HONORIFICS   
Mr., Miss, Jr., III, & Names        
Married Women       
Deceased Persons         
People with Two Titles
Post-Nominal Abbreviations and Initials         
Sequence Post-Nominal Abbreviations: Sr., Jr., etc.    
 
Couples: Private Citizens / Joint Forms of Address 
Couples: U.S. Military / Joint Forms of Address     
Couples: U.S. Officials / Joint Forms of Address      

USE OF SPECIFIC OFFICIAL TITLES        
Former Officials            
Professionals and Academics        

United States Federal Officials, Currently In Office             
United States State Officials, Currently In Office              
United States Municipal Officials, Currently In Office             
       All About The Honorable with U.S. Officials         
       Former United States Officials of all types             
United States Armed Services
       Addressing Active Duty Personnel              
       Addressing Retired Personnel      
       Use of Rank by Retired Personnel      
       Use of Rank by Veterans      

Tribal Officials             
Clergy and Religious Officials           
Canadian Officials         
Australian Officials          
British Officials, Royalty, and Nobility        
Diplomats and International Representatives            
Foreign National Officials and Nobility        

SPECIFIC SITUATIONS
Author's Name on His/Her Book       
Business Cards, Names on,       
Couples              
Introductions, Names in            
Invitations: Names on       
Invitations: Names of Armed Service Personnel on        
Name Badges & Tags            
Names on Programs, Signs, & Lists            
Naming a Building or Road            
Place Cards            
Plaques, Awards, Diplomas, Certificates, Names on    
Precedence: Ordering Officials           
Tombstones, Names on      

Site updated by Robert Hickey on 29 October 2018


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Back to directory of titles  /  See who is using Honor & Respect

For forms of address for invitations, place cards, name badges, introductions, conversation, and all other formal uses, see Honor & Respect: the Official Guide to Names, Titles, and Forms of Address.

Copyright © 2018 Robert Hickey.     All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Marc Goodman.




All information on www.formsofaddress.info is copyright © 2016 by Robert Hickey. All rights reserved.
The Protocol School of Washington® is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Honor & Respect is dedicated to Dorothea Johnson, Founder of The Protocol School of Washington®

Contact the Author Link to The Protocol School of Washington



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