Ms vs Mrs vs Miss – Difference, Using and Pronunciation

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Grammar can be tricky and of course, you would never want to offend someone by using an incorrect title. If you have ever wondered when to use the title Ms vs Mrs vs Miss; today we have an easy to follow guide to help you nail it. Not only is this a good lesson in life but it also is important for addressing your wedding invitations correctly.


The History Of Female Title: Miss, Ms Or Mrs

The prefix Miss, Mrs, and Ms. originally came from the formal term, Mistress. When first used in the 17th and 18th centuries these terms did not indicate if a woman was married, that changed during the 19th century. It was at that time that Mrs. and Miss became connected with the marital status of a woman.


What’s The Difference Between Miss, Ms, And Mrs?

There has always been a question around what the difference between Miss, Ms and Mrs and it seems like there are a variety of answers so to help break it down for you we have an outline that is clear and easy to use.

Main features of “miss” title

In modern times we use the title of “Miss” when referring to or addressing a young girl or a woman under roughly the age of 30 or so and who is unmarried.

This title is commonly used in school settings when addressing young female students or young women who are not married. Think about all times we use Miss such as “Miss America”, or “excuse me, miss”.

See some examples below:

The car Miss Frederick drives is vintage.

Miss Roseline is a seasoned ballet dancer.

Miss cute smile is here again. Her smile brings warmth.

Main features of “ms” title
Using the “Ms” title is a little more general and is commonly used to refer to or address a woman whose marital status is unknown, has kept her maiden name, or is roughly over the age of 30 or so.

Main times the title of Ms will be used to address a woman since it shows respect without insinuating or projecting the marital status. This title is not used for young girls as it is generally used when addressing an older female.

Examples for you below:

Ms. Jordan-Bruno Adeline got married yesterday.

Ms. Bradley Marie lost her husband.

Ms. Bruno Stella is young, single and getting it.

Main features of “mrs” title
Using the title “Mrs.” is reserved for addressing a woman who is married or was married. This title is usually used once it is clear of the marital status and often women will keep this title even if their partner passes away or they divorce although they don’t have to.

Here are some examples:

Mrs. Stevens has a black dog.

Mrs. Brad Stevens has a black dog.

Mrs. Stevens Alicia has a black dog.


When You Get Married Is It Ms Or Mrs

Once you get married you have the opportunity to change your last name to match your partners but of course, it is not required. If you change your last name post-wedding you can and will most often be addressed as Mrs. If you plan on keeping the maiden name you want to keep your marital status private you have the opportunity to use Ms.

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Mrs Vs Ms Vs Miss: Which To Write On Wedding Invitations

When sending out your invitations you want to make sure you have the etiquette 100% right. If you are looking for a way to know when to use these titles for invitations you can use our quick little guide.

  • Mrs. should be used on an invitation when sending it to a married woman or married couple when you use Mr. & Mrs.
  • Ms should be used to address all females who are over the age of 30 or so, their marital status is unknown or you want to simply show respect. If you are ever unsure how to address a woman this is the best one to use.
  • Miss should be used on a wedding invitation when sending to a young girl who will be attending the wedding or someone in their teens or 20’s.


How To Address A Woman If Her Marital Status Is Unknown

The safest way to address a woman if her marital status is unknown is to use the title Ms. By using the Ms. title you are showing respect while not assuming or projecting anything.

Most of the time a widow who used the title Mrs. before her partner passed will keep the title but not always. If you can’t ask or find the information you can use Ms. to be on the safe side.

Just like the widow situation, some women who are divorced will keep their married last name and their Mrs. title. While others will switch to Ms and even might switch back to their maiden name. If you can’t find the information about a divorced woman and how she prefers to be addressed you can always use Ms. as a sign of respect.

Mrs Vs Ms Vs Miss Pronunciation

  • Although they may sound the same the pronunciation for Mrs, Ms and Miss are all different.
    Many times when using the title it can be difficult to hear exactly how someone uses the title.  But it is important to know when to use each one.
  • The rules for pronouncing Mrs can be slightly different based on geographical location.
    The most followed rule is that Mrs. sounds like “mis-iz”.
  • While Ms. and Miss sound remarkably alike the title Ms is a shorter sounds and often sounds like “miz”.
  • The best and easiest way to pronounce “Miss” to know it rhymes with “this” or “hiss”.


Additional Titles

There are many different titles besides Ms.vs Miss vs Mrs. you might need to know especially when addressing a wedding invitation.

  • Madam

This title is normally reserved for addressing a woman in office or position such as Madam President. This title you won’t come across as often as Ms, Miss or Mrs but it still could come up every once in a while.

  • Mr or Mister?

Mr. is just a shortened form of Mister and they are used to refer to or address a man no matter what their marital status is.

  • Doctor

Out of respect for their professional status we use the title Doctor before the person’s name and it replaces using Miss, Ms or Mrs. If addressing a wedding invitation to a couple and the woman is a doctor you should use Doctor & Mr. Name.

It can be slightly tricky to know how to address someone. And by which title to use but by understanding the background and meaning to each it should be a little easier. When addressing your wedding invitations always ask your family and future family for title information along with names and addresses.