Archive for January, 2010

Dear Robert,
I enlisted in the U.S. Army on 10/17/1985, went to boot camp 05/28/86, was in the Army Reserve 09/86 to 9/90, active duty 10/1/1990, entered OCS commissioned 12/7/90, was on active duty through 7/1/97, went in to the Army Reserve from 07/97 – 11/1/05 when I retired as a Major.
Should I list myself as Major, USAR (retired) or Major, USA (retired)?
Any advice is appreciated–I just want to be sure I list it properly.
Thank you!
— Paul

Dear Paul,
The word I get from the Army is that once retired, everyone is simply USA, Retired.
The direct forms of address suggested by the DOD manuals are as follows, without parentheses:
Major Paul J. Dexter, USA, Retired
Sometimes you see in a list or program
Paul J. Dexter (Major, USA, Retired)
… but that’s not a direct form of address. It would be appropriate in print (e.g., in a list) if other names appeared without honorifics and somehow your retired status was pertinent.
– Robert Hickey     www.formsofaddress.info

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Dear Robert,

Someone I met wanted to follow me on Twitter, so I wrote my Twitter name on the back of my business card. Is this proper?

Should people now put their Twitter name on the front of their card as part of their contact info? I hope you can give me some guidance about this as I am speaking to a young professionals group on Thursday and want to be able to give them the “proper etiquette” for this. I wouldn’t have even thought of this if it hadn’t just happened to me. Thanks so much.

— Rachel on Twitter

Dear Rachel,

Put on your card every way you invite communication. Most formally a business card does not include promotional information, but not everyone needs the most formal style of card. What’s promotional? I’d define:

Web site = promotion

E-mail address = communication

Twitter name = promotion

Telephone number = communication

Even if including your Twitter name is more promotion than communication … only you can decide how formal you need your card to be.

Certainly, social media sites are important avenues of communication for many: I got several notes to my Facebook page from Protocol School of Washington graduates this week … but I’d say those are more personal & less formal than messages sent to me via my work e-mail address.

– Robert Hickey     www.formsofaddress.info

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Sir: I am a retired Chief Warrant Office Five. When using my rank in the wedding invitation. Should I use Chief Warrant Officer Five or Chief Warrant Officer? Is the following correct?:

Chief Warrant Officer Five and Mrs. John Doe
request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter
Jan Doe
to Mr. Adam Smith

I appreciate your guidance.
— V/r, John

Dear John:
The One, Two, Three, Four, or Five (stepped ranks) of Warrant Officer are not used socially. The best option is:  Chief Warrant Officer and Mrs. John Doe
FYI …. most formally you are Chief Warrant Officer John Doe and Mrs. Doekeeping your rank and name as a unit, but the Chief Warrant Officer and Mrs.version is very typical on invitations where space is an issue.
– Robert Hickey     www.formsofaddress.info

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I am addressing a formal letter in French to a member of the French Senate as follows:
L’honorable Robert XXX, Senateur
Senat – Hauts-de-Seinge Department
Cher Senateur XXX,

I know you are the expert on these issues, and would appreciate your guidance. Thank you.
— April McLean, Assistant Director
XXX University Law School

Dear Ms. McLean:
French citizens do not address their national officials as Honorable. Officials are formally addressed as Mr./Madam (office) as in Mr. President of the Republic(Monsieur le President de la République), Mr. Prime Minister (Monsieur le Premier Ministre), Mr. President for a president of council or chamber in the legislature (Monsieur le Président), Mr. Senator (Monsieur le Sénateur), or Mr. Deputy (Monsieur le Député).
So I would not use “The Honorable” … on the envelope just his name: Robert XXX … and use as the salutation use Monsieur le Sénateur:

– Robert Hickey     www.formsofaddress.info

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I was pleased to find your blog on the Internet, along with your invitation to ask you a question. I am writing a letter to Regina Benjamin, MD, who the Senate recently confirmed as the nation’s surgeon general (or Surgeon General, if one follows the style of the press release on HHS.gov). How do I address the envelope, and what salutation should I use?
— Maria Gillman

Dear Ms. Gillman:
I cover all for the forms of address (social, official, place cards, etc.) for such government officials in my book.
Envelope, official:
The Honorable
(Full name)
Surgeon General

Letter salutation: Dear Dr. (surname):

– Robert Hickey     www.formsofaddress.info

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I really need an answer to this etiquette question, and don’t know where to turn.  I know that you’ll know the correct thing to do, so I’d be much obliged if you’d drop me a quick line whenever you have a moment.
While I appreciate the thought behind Christmas and birthday gifts, I would like to know what to do when I constantly receive the same gifts from people?  Many of my friends always give me candles for every occasion.  This Christmas, I’ve already received enough candles to open my own candle shop.  Thing is, I HATE candles with a passion.  Yes, they’re pretty and smell nice, but I never use them.  I have never mentioned an interest in candles and always thank people who give me any gift, but what can I do to stop people from giving them to me?  I would love to receive anything but a candle for a gift…. a small bowl of nuts; a box of biscuits, a jar of hand cream, a scarf, a wedge of cheese….. ANYTHING!!!!
Is there any polite way to let people know not to give me candles as gifts?  Your answer would be greatly appreciated.
Many thanks, Mr. Hickey!
— Olive Abrams

Dear Ms. Abrams:
While it’s a nice concept that presents would be what we actually want … it clearly doesn’t work that way.
The best option for you is to begin TODAY to be pro-active and start telling people you REALLY want … you are insane for cashews, love Avon Moisture Therapy hand cream, think white chocolate macadamia cookies are simply the best. That way others won’t be wondering what you like and what to give you.
I’ve ‘educated’ everyone I know I am always happy to get a bottle of wine, l’Occitaine’s lemon verbena soap, or a CD of music they’ve discovered that’s great.  While I like books I have too many. So I tell people that when I get a book as a present — since my apt. in NYC is so small — my first thought is not GOOD but “what book am I going have to get rid of to accommodate this new book?”  This has worked for me and I don’t be many books anymore.
– Robert Hickey     www.formsofaddress.info

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Hi, Robert!  As you know, I sing with Lionheart – and we sang at the Metropolitan Museum of Art last night. We were surprised by some special audience members – Bill and Hillary Clinton, Chelsea and Chelsea’s fiancé.
Lionheart would like to send them a note thanking them for coming to come hear us.  To whom should it be addressed? and what would be the proper salutation?  I know it’s “Mr. Clinton” and not “President Clinton”, but I’m not sure how to handle a mix of current office-holder, past President, daughter and daughter’s fiancé all at once: “Dear Clintons,”?
— Kurt-Owen Richards, The bass-baritone in Lionheart

Hi Kurt:
It’s great that the Clintons they came to hear you. I enjoyed your concert at The Cloisters earlier this month.
This is probably the most frequently asked question I get, though you are the FIRST PERSON who wasn’t asking it as a rhetorical question!
The Clintons: For a social envelope it would be ….
The Honorable William Clinton
The Honorable Hillary Clinton
and Ms. Chelsea Clinton
You could add “Jefferson” — his middle name … and “Rodham” to hers if you want to.
The salutation would be
Dear Mr. Clinton, Madame Secretary, and Ms. Clinton,
Bill is first because former Presidents are #5 on the White House Precedence List … and current Secretaries of State are #6.  I include this list in my book to look up precisely this kind of thing.
The Fiance: His note would be addressed to him individually since he’s not a member of the family (yet). You don’t mention his name (I don’t know it and didn’t know she was engaged, actually) but he’d be a “Mr. (full name)” unless you know he’s a “Dr.” or something.  If you don’t know his address mentioning his presence in the note to the Clintons would probably do.

– Robert Hickey     www.formsofaddress.info

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