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The Difference Between Mrs, Ms, and Miss

It is important to know the difference between Mrs, Ms, and Miss because we want to correctly address women by their preferred titles and to respect their identity. That’s why we’ll explain what each title means and when to use it – whether you prefer Mrs. vs Ms. vs Miss. 

We’ll also discuss which titles to use after marriage as well as which titles to use on your wedding invitations. By correctly addressing someone by their preferred title, you avoid offending them. Let us break down these terms to clear all the Mrs. vs Ms. vs Miss confusion. 


Meaning of Miss  


For a long time now, people have used the “Miss” title as a descriptor of an unmarried woman and a female child. Traditionally, people used it to formally address women whose marital status was unknown as well as women who had authority in professional and formal settings.

People also used the term “Miss” as an appropriate title to address women before those women invited them to call them by their first name. In modern times, however, the “Miss” title can also have a negative connotation as some women do not want it to be used to address their marital status. 


Meaning of Ms.

ms letter sign

Some people might be confused with the “miss” and “ms” terms as they sound the same, but they are somewhat different. The difference between them is that the term “Ms.” refers to both married and unmarried women whereas “Miss” is only used to refer to unmarried women. 


Meaning of Mrs. 

Mrs Letters Sign

The “Mrs.” or “Mrs” title formally refers to married women as well as widowed women. Some divorced women also choose to keep the “Mrs” title. It is used along with the person’s name.

In the past, people also used the title with the husband’s first and last name, but this practice is no longer popular. The “Mrs” title is also becoming less popular in professional settings. 


Meaning of Mx.

checkboxes with mr, ms, mx title options

Similar to “Ms,” “Mx” serves as a gender-neutral term and it is a great alternative to the other titles. It does not reveal a person’s marital status and is often used along with a person’s name.

According to Gender Census, “Mx.” is most widely used and popular in the United Kingdom. Therefore, using the “Mx” title can be risky in regions that aren’t very familiar with this term. Some people might embrace it, while others might hate it. 


How to Pronounce Ms, Miss, Mrs, and Mx


Pronouncing these titles can be tricky as they are pronounced differently in different regions of the world. Therefore, the correct pronunciation of these terms really depends on where you reside. The general rule is that “Mrs.” is pronounced as “mis-iz” or “mis-is.”

“Ms,” on the other hand, sounds like “miz.” The pronunciation of “Ms.” and “Miss” are almost identical, therefore, the best way to pronounce “Miss” is to remember that it rhymes with “this.”

Lastly, “Mx.” sounds like “mix” or “mux.” Again, all of these title’s pronunciations depend on your geographical location.  That’s why you should use the ones that best match where you live. 


Which Title Should I Use for Wedding Invitations?


Not sure what titles you should write on your save the dates or your wedding invitations? Don’t worry!

Here’s our Mrs. vs. Ms. vs Miss wedding invitation guide: 

If you are addressing an unmarried young woman or child on your wedding invitations, go with “Miss” or “Ms.” For older unmarried women, go with “Ms.”

If you’re addressing a married guest, feel free to go with “Mrs.” If you know your guest’s preferred titles, use them. If you are not sure which formal titles your guests prefer, addressing them as “Ms” is a safe choice.

“Mx.” is also a perfect option as it doesn’t indicate a person’s marital status. However, this term is tricky because some people may dislike this term while others might welcome it. 

If you’re still not sure, the best idea is to ask your guests what titles and pronouns they prefer. Asking your guest about their preferred titles will help you feel more comfortable. Moreover, you will also be sure of which title to use when you’re making your wedding invitations.

Another plus is that your guests will appreciate that you are taking the time to find out and use their preferred labels. 


What Title Should I Use After I Get Married?


There are no set rules about which title you should use after marriage. It is totally up to you to decide which title to use after getting married. This is just a breakdown of how titles are generally used. But you don’t have to adhere to these recommendations. So feel free to use whatever title you like. 

Some women prefer the “Mrs.” title to indicate that they are sharing their husband’s last name after marriage. But some married women prefer to go by “Ms” if they decide to keep their maiden name.

If you’re are keeping your last name after marriage, you can still use the “Mrs.” title along with your maiden name. But if you don’t want your title of respect to be tied to your marital status in any way, then using the “Ms.” title is definitely your best option. 


Other Titles

miss, mrs, ms, mr, dr titles

Apart from Mrs, Ms. Miss, and Mx, it is also a good idea to know the following titles for when you address your wedding invitations. 

  • Doctor: It is best to use this term when the person you are addressing is a doctor or if they hold a Ph.D. For example, use Dr. Smith rather than Mrs. Smith if they have their Ph.D. or other medical doctorate. 
  • Mr. or Mister: People use these terms to address both married and unmarried men.


Wrap Up

Hopefully, this guide cleared up all the Mrs. vs. Ms. vs Miss confusion. Remember that it is best to ask someone what titles they prefer to make sure that you respect their identity and don’t offend them. The recipients of your wedding invitations will be glad you asked about their preferred titles.

It is also worth remembering that you can use whatever titles you are most comfortable with after getting married. Find out more about this topic by visiting our guide to addressing wedding invitations. Good luck with the rest of the wedding planning!

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