Wondering which to use to address a woman in your life – ‘Ms.,’ ‘Mrs.,’ or ‘Miss’? We can help you make the right choice, plus teach you how to use all three correctly.
The short answer is:
As you just learned, the difference between ‘Mrs.,’ ‘Ms.,’ and ‘Miss’ is that the first title refers to a married woman and the other two refer to unmarried or young women.
To use each correctly, address only married women with ‘Mrs.’ The other two can be used for young or unmarried women.
The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘Ms.’ is: “used as a conventional title of courtesy before a woman’s surname,” “used instead of Miss or Mrs. (as when the marital status of a woman is unknown or irrelevant).”
An abbreviated ‘MS’ can also mean: “manuscript,” “master of science,” “military science,” “Mississippi,” “motor ship,” or “multiple sclerosis.”
The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘Mrs.’ is: “Mesdames > used as a conventional title of courtesy except when usage requires the substitution of a title of rank or an honorific or professional title before a married woman’s surname,” “used before the name of a place (such as a country or city) or of a profession or activity (such as a sport) or before some epithet (such as clever) to form a title applied to a married woman viewed or recognized as representative of the thing indicated,” and “wife.”
The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘Miss’ is “to fail to hit, reach, or contact,” “to fail to perform or attend,” “to leave out: omit,” “to discover or feel the absence of,” “to fail to comprehend, sense, or experience,” “escape, avoid,” “to fail to obtain,” “to fail to hit something,” “to be unsuccessful,” “misfire,” and “to fail to get, reach, or do something.”
It also means: “used as a title prefixed to the name of an unmarried woman or girl,” “used before the name of a place or a line of activity or before some epithet to form a title for a usually young unmarried female who is representative of the thing indicated,” “young lady > used without a name as a conventional term of address to a young woman,” “a young or unmarried woman or girl,” and “misses plural: a clothing size for a woman of average height and build.”
Now that we know what each of these words means let’s see how to use them correctly in a sentence.
Now, if you want to use the word ‘miss,’ you can use it in a sentence in the following ways.
To recap, we learned that ‘Ms.’ and ‘Miss’ are both used for younger and unmarried women, while ‘Mrs.’ is generally used for married women.
If you ever get stuck on which is the correct one to use, you can always come back here and refresh your memory.
We’ve also got a whole library of content dedicated to explaining confusing words and phrases in the English language.
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