Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for May, 2009

     My question has to do with addressing envelopes.  Our Pastor, Alyson Smith, of the Presbyterian Denomination, is married to a retired Lieutenant Commander, USN,Richard.  He is to be awarded his PhD soon.  Regardless of the degree, I have not been able to find out how one is to address an invitation, card, or letter to the two of them, together. 
         — Bobbi Sue Minton

Dear Ms. Minton:
    A couple of issues here:

USE OF RANK
     It’s not typical for retired Lieutenant Commanders to continue to be addressed by their rank. Captains and above typically continue use of the military title in retirement … but that said, if he prefers to be addressed as a “Lieutenant Commander Paul Smith” in writing … and “Commander Smith” in conversation … [full rank and basic rank]  I’d follow his preference.     
    As a retired military officer his name is written most formally on official correspondence:
        Lieutenant Commander Richard Smith, USN, Retired
    As socially you would write to him as:
        Lieutenant Commander Richard Smith
    As a member of the clergy, her name is written:
        The Reverend Alyson Smith, (followed by “DD” or whatever post-nominal initials she uses)

USE OF MORE THAN ONE “TITLE” AT A TIME
    Regarding Richard getting his PhD. There is an American tradition that we only give a person one title at time. So he’s either going to be Dr. Smith or Commander Smith. He would never be Commander Dr. Smith. 
    I say “American tradition” because the “British tradition” is to give a personEVERYTHING they would ever get … so you see names like The Right Honourable Reverend Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Lord William Ramsey, MP, VC, PhD ….  But in the US we address a person with the one “honorific” or “courtesy title” that’s appropriate to the situation …. who they are to us at the moment. 

USE OF DOCTOR
    Usually holders of PhD’s don’t use Dr. (name) unless they work in academia or research. E.g., the holder of a doctorate in French who teaches would use Dr. (name) …. The holder of a PhD in finance who works at a bank wouldn’t.  Another example …. lawyers have a JD (Doctor of Jurisprudence) but none of them use Dr. (name). 
    An academic degree is never used with a military rank.

   Whose name is listed first?

PRECEDENCE IF HE’S BEING ADDRESSED AS A LIEUTENANT COMMANDER
    An active duty or retired military person has higher precedence than a civilian so is listed first. So in most circumstances the joint form would be:
        Lieutenant Commander Richard Smith
            and The Reverend Alyson Smith

    BUT if she is the invited guest … and he is invited as her escort, then as the guest her name would appear first:
        The Reverend Alyson Smith
            and Lieutenant Commander Richard Smith

PRECEDENCE IF HE’S BEING ADDRESSED AS A DOCTOR
    If he’s using Dr., then both are civilians, and she as clergy would be listed first:
        The Reverend Alyson Smith
            and Dr. Richard Smith

 
    I have spelled out “Lieutenant Commander” every time above, to avoid the whole issue of how to abbreviate his rank. I cover that in my book (service-specific abbreviations) if you need that information.
            — Robert Hickey     www.formsofaddress.info 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

     On a wedding invitation, which is correct:  “two thousand nine” OR” two thousand and nine” ?  Thank you!  I prefer “two thousand nine”, but almost all of the wedding samples I’ve looked at use “two thousand and nine”.
         — Paula Koloski

Dear Ms. Koloski:
    Traditional wording would be:
            Two thousand and nine
    The first word in is capitalized.
    If you don’t want to include the year … that’s completely acceptable. Most invitations are sent out 4-6 weeks in advance, so it’s not confusing not to specify the year. For party invitations it fairly routine to leave off the year. 
    But since wedding invitations are kept as “keepsakes” people like to include the year for future reference.
            — Robert Hickey     www.formsofaddress.info 

Read Full Post »

     Regarding my pastor, who is also a military chaplain:
     I must write a sentence in our summer worship schedule for the church newsletter regarding the pastor’s “Godspeed Celebration” we are holding before his deployment to Afghanistan. Which of these would be considered correct? Are any of them simply not correct at all?
    The Rev. (full name), chaplain of the …, Indiana Army National Guard.
    The Rev. Lieut. Col. (full name), chaplain of the ….
    Lieut. Col. (full name), chaplain of the …. and pastor of ….

Is there another form that would be more preferred?

                — Lynn Harriman, Indianapolis

Dear Ms. Harriman,
    I think you are saying he is the pastor of your church … AND he is also a chaplain?
    There is a tradition in American forms of address that we only give a person one title at time.
    ** As a chaplain he’d use the form I have on Chaplain Armed Services 
    ** As you pastor he’d use the form I have on Pastor 
    I say “American” because the British tradition is to give a person EVERYTHING they would ever get … so you see names like The Right Honourable Reverend Lieutenant Colonel Lord William Ramsey, MP, VC .…  But in the US we address a person with the one “honorific” or “courtesy title” that’s appropriate to the situation …. who they are to us at the moment.
    So I your first option is the most formally correct for you at his church:
           The Reverend (full name), (degrees held)
If it’s a sentence you can include more information ..
            The Reverend (full name) is a Chaplain of the Indiana Army National Guard holding the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. 
    And when he’s on active duty with the National Guard they will use his chaplain form of address and note is also the pastor of your church.
            — Robert Hickey     www.formsofaddress.info 

Read Full Post »

     Please settle a dispute. When sending a letter to a Major General, I know that the address at the top of the page should read Major General Robert McCaw. But in the greeting, which is correct: Dear Major General McCaw or Dear General McCaw?
         — Kathleen Kruckle

Dear Ms. Kruckle:
    The full rank is use to be specific on the envelope the letter’s address block …. General, Lieutenant General, Major General, or Brigadier General
        Major General Robert McCaw, USA/USMC/USAF
    Use his branch of service on the envelope and in the address block: USA or USMC or USAF.
    The basic rank General is used in conversation … and since what you would call the person in conversation … is what you use in the letter’s salutation … you open the letter with the greeting:
        Dear General McCaw:
    “Admirals” “Colonels” “Commanders” and “Lieutenants” have the same issue … and all follow that same pattern.

          — Robert Hickey

Read Full Post »

I have a question. At a reception prior to a formal (black-tie) dinner at a non-profit organization’s conference, guests were required to pay for their own drinks at the bar.  The line was long because there was only one bartender. When dinner was announced some guests had just gotten their drink.  They carried them in to the dinner and someone at their my table remarked that it was poor manners to bring drinks into dinner from a reception. 

            At the tables two bottles of were open and placed on each table for eight.  After that, wine by the glass had to be purchased. I know that technically it is poor manners to bring your drinks to the table from the reception. But people here do it all the time and at $9 a glass for mediocre wine you can’t really blame them.  What do you think?

            — Lesley Butler

 

Dear Ms. Butler,

            Etiquette changes over time and is always specific to the situation. Can you eat French fries with your fingers? At a white tablecloth restaurant I wouldn’t: at McDonalds I would.

            You describe this reception with a single-line cash bar, two bottles of open wine on the table, and if you wanted another glass you would go buy it. I say it wasn’t SO formal that I’d be too critical of moving some glassware around!  Maybe this situation was more akin to when you are at a restaurant and you have a drink in the bar until the table to be ready … I wouldn’t advise anyone to throw away their newly delivered drink when the table becomes ready and they go to take their seats.

            — Robert Hickey     www.formsofaddress.info   

Read Full Post »

     How does one, in written form, address a retired BGen (USAF) who has his PhD?  He goes by “Dr. Taylor” now that he is retired, but management also wants to acknowledge his service as well as his degree.
                BGen Henry Taylor, PhD, USAF (Ret)?
                BGen Henry Taylor, USAF (Ret), PhD?
                
Dr. Henry Taylor, BGen, USAF (Ret)?
    Thank you,
         — Bill Montgomery

Dear Mr. Montgomery:
   You say he ‘goes by Dr. Taylor now. When retired officers represent private companies to the armed services … they frequently skip using their rank when dealing with active-duty officers. So in spite of management’s desire to bring his former rank into the picture, I’d get back to managment that the best course is to follow his preference, but it would be approriate introduce him as “May I introduce Dr. Henry Taylor. Dr. Taylor is a retired United States Air Force Brigadier General.” 
Now some details
  #1  
There is an American tradition that we only give a person one title at time.
            **  If he prefers to be continued to be addressed as a Brigadier General 
                  then use the form I have on Brigadier General 
            **  if he prefers now to be addressed as a Doctor 
                  use the form I have on Doctorate 
    I say “American tradition” because the “British tradition” is to give a personEVERYTHING they would ever get … so you see names like The Right Honourable Reverend Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Lord William Ramsey, MP, VC ….  But in the US we address a person with the one “honorific” or “courtesy title” that’s appropriate to the situation …. who they are to us at the moment. 
    Sometimes when retired officers represent private companies to the armed services … they DO skip using their rank when dealing with active-duty officers.
     #2 Regarding you use of abbreviations: “BGen” is the DOD service-specific abbreviation used by Marine Brigadier Generals.   The DOD service-specific abbreviation for USAF Brigadier Generals is “Brig Gen”
    #3 You see “Retired” noted many ways … but I prefer EITHER of the following … to (Ret)
  
          Brig Gen Henry Taylor, USAF, Ret.
  
        
  Brig Gen Henry Taylor, USAF, Retired
    For future use of abbreviations, my books has all that. It answers your questions on page 94 (use of retired with retired officers) and page 97 (DOD USAF abbreviations).  
            — Robert Hickey     www.formsofaddress.info   

Read Full Post »

    In 1970  I was nominated by the President Nixon and confirmed by the Senate as Assistant Secretary of Transportation. I was thereafter written to and addressed as “the Honorable”.
     In 1984 I was nominated by President Reagan and confirmed by the Senate as Under Secretary of Health and Human Services. Same “the Honorable” form of address.
     In between the two and after the second — in my civilian life — I used my business title, Chairman, President etc. with but two exceptions. My London office insisted upon using “the Hon.”, which seemed to please the British, and our Frankfort office, in typical German fashion, used all the titles they could think of.
     My question; is it permissible and a matter of my personal choice when to use “the Hon.” title somewhat similar to a “General” using his military tittle after retirement?
     I doubt that there would be many times when I would choose to do so, but upon occasion it might be useful (or amusing).
 
                     – The Honorable in DC

 

Dear The Honorable in DC:
    The rule is: once an “Honorable” always as “Honorable”.  So it is at the preference of the bearer (you), and the option of those who address you to use it.
    In the US we (by tradition) give a person one “courtesy title / honorific” before their name … usually the one appropriate for the topic you are addressing the individual. So a senator who is a doctor would be (in US tradition) Senator (last name) when you are his constituent, and a Dr. (last name) when he is examining your foot.
    As you note the British and the Germans use they all they are entitled to, so they would use Senator Dr. (name), and maybe even The Honorable Senator Dr. (full name), PhD, JD, Esq.
    That bring ups the Senator — Dr. Bill Frist, who asked to be called Dr. Frist. He didn’t follow the “rule” — but how one is addressed is always at the preference of the bearer.
            — Robert Hickey     www.formsofaddress.info   

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »