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Archive for September, 2010

I would like to send an African Methodist Episcopal Zion Pastor a letter requesting that my organization visit his church on a selected Sunday to close a weekend celebration of our anniversary.  How should the greeting read?  (for example,  Greetings Rev—- in the name of the Father)  is this appropriate of should I just say Dear Rev._________?
— Maryann Lee

Dear Ms. Lee:
I give the best forms for protestant christian clergy on  http://www.formsofaddress.info/Pastor.html
Address him as “The Reverend (full name)” and “Pastor (surname)” as noted there.
I have never encountered a member of the protestant clergy who did not like that form, unless they also hold a doctorate and prefer “Dr. (surname)”
While some clergy use “Rev.” like “Mr./Mrs./Ms” … but not all do, and many object to shortening “The Reverend” down to simply “Rev.”.   So I suggest you not use “Rev. (Name)”  unless you know it is his personal preference.

– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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I am looking for an answer to a question that you brushed against but didn’t quite answer in a previous post, which I repeat below;
One might keep the sequence suffix because his mother is Mrs. Walter C. Wentz III and his wife is Mrs. Walter C. Wentz IV and socially that differentiation matters to the family.
My question is, what if she prefers to go by Mrs. Blanche DuBoise Wentz? Would she receive the III at the end or would she not?
Thank you so much for your expertise. I’ve been curious about this for some time now.
— Donna Terry

Dear Ms. Terry:
A woman who uses …
Mrs. (Woman’s Name)
Mrs. Blanche DuBoise Wentz
… would not have the post nominal that would be attached to …
Mrs. (Husband’s Name)
Mrs. Walter C. Wentz III
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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I am doing an invite for a luncheon and the hosts are the Governor and Judge (wife).  How do I properly list them as hosts on the invite?  Do I put Governor Dave and Judge Nancy Frendenthal or do I use The Honorable Nancy Freudenthal for the spouse?
— C. B. Frazier

Dear C. B. Frazier:
One of the most frequent questions I get when I speak is “how do I address Hillary and Bill” …. so this is similar.
1) One does not refer to oneself in writing as “The Honorable” … others address you in that way … so she is not “The Honorable” when she’s the hostess.
2) Very high officials …. governors, presidents, chief justices, speakers of houses …. are referred to ‘by office’ … e.g. The Governor of Wyoming … not by name.
3) Why go so formal? An invitation is a keepsake for guests, and while they will be delighted with the host and hostess are informal in their greeting, granting the formal dignity to the office on the invitationhonors the office and all of the citizens who elected the current office holder. At The White House the invitations are formal … the conversation less formal!  It’s a good model.
So … all that said …. depending on space you would write
The Governor of Wyoming and Judge Nancy Freudenthal
or    The Governor of Wyoming
and Judge Nancy Freudenthal

or less formally … but it might fit on one line:
The Governor of Wyoming and Judge Freudenthal
or even less formally … using his name is less formal, though not incorrect technically:
Governor David D. Freudenthal
and Judge Nancy Freudenthal

– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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I have been looking on your web-site with regards to post-nominal letters and I have a question. Is it considered correct to use one´s post nominal letters in a business e-mail and on business cards?
— L M N-V

Dear L M N-V:
Your question is answered in my book in the chapter on post nominals.
Post-nominals ARE used in official situations … on business correspondence and business cards.
They are not used in social situation or on social correspondence.
In the UK and in Commonwealth countries, the tradition is to use everything one is entitled to use, so names get long.
Elsewhere … so that includes the US … just the pertinent post-nominals for the interaction at hand are included.
For example in the US:
A military honor would be skipped on a civilian card.
Rudolf Giuliani, who is was knighted by Her Majesty the Queen after 09/11, might include OBE at a somehow British-related event, but probably not on his business card.
BA and MA are traditionally not included outside academia or research unless they are directly pertinent to the job is one is performing. So a therapist/counselor would include a masters in counseling after their name.  A business consultant would include MBA … but a person with an MFA working in administration at city hall might not.
Even doctorates are frequently omitted it they are not related to the professional service being rendered … a person with an PhD in a history typically does not use it if working in finance … but would include their doctorate if they were working in academia or research.

– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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I stumbled across your site in my incessant hunt to figure out how to properly address an envelope for a friend who is entering boot camp with the National Guard.
He is entering as a Specialist, E-4 (which, I’m assuming, is 4th Class – but I have no idea).  He will also be at Ft Leonard Wood in MO.  But from what I understand, they don’t receive their mailing addresses until they get there.
Also, I was thinking of getting him a Bible as well w/ his official title/rank whatever engraved on it too – how would that be addressed properly?
Thanks so much – I am woefully uninformed about this!  I appreciate this a lot!!?
— Michele

Dear Michele:
Ft. Leonard Wood is a Army base … so Army ranks apply to the Army National Guard
E-4 means he’s Enlisted and 4th from the bottom.
The formula for military forms of address is  (Rank) (Name)
While it would not be incorrect to write out the rank fully Specialist John Smith
What they would do in the Army would be to use the Army-specific abbreviation for Specialist is SPC
All CAPS & no period at the end.  I include the service-specific abbreviations for all the services in a chapter entitled “Abbreviations & Post Nominals” in my book.
So the correct version of the name for an envelope or engraving will be SPC John Smith

– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info


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How to address a pastor and his wife if the pastor has Dr. degree and wife is also a pastor without a Dr. degree
Thanking you in advance for your assistance.
— Leah

Dear Leah:
If you mean how to address on an envelope … the most formal form is:
The Reverend James Wilson
and The Reverend Harriet Wilson

The rules are:
They get only one thing in front of their name … either “The Reverend”  or  “Dr.” … never both.
Academic Degrees are not used with courtesy titles …. either “The  Reverend” or “DD” … never both.
In salutations and conversation address him if he holds a doctorate as Dr. Wilson … and if she is also a pastor but does not hold a doctorate call her Pastor Wilson.

– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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This afternoon I am to draft a congratulatory message for the National Day of Saudi Arabia to the King of Saudi Arabia in his capacity as Prime Minister and would welcome your expertise.  What would be the appropriate form of address both on the envelope and in the salutation?
— Renata Bankoff

Dear Ms. Bankoff:
I include in my book the correct forms of address for every head of state in the world: that’s more than 200 offices. The King of Saudi Arabia has a special courtesy title all to himself …

Envelope:
The Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques
Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
King of Saudi Arabia
(Mailing Address)


Salutation: Your Majesty:


I suppose you could list under his name that he was also prime minister, but being king pretty much trumps being the PM.
FYI, your question is answered in my book on page 420 in a chapter where I cover the forms of address for every current noble head of state in the world.

– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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