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Archive for April 5th, 2011

You mention the situations of ‘social’ and ‘official’ uses of ranks. What exactly is the difference?
– F. Wilson

Dear F. Wilson:
I mention it frequently because I get lots of questions on use of rank by retired personnel.
An example of an official situation would be (1) a letter to an active-duty officer from a retired officer regarding his or her service. Another example of an official situation would be (2) a letter from a high school to the retired officer asking him to be their guest … and to attend in uniform … their Memorial Day event.
In both cases service history and rank are pertinent. In the first instance the officer is identifying himself as retired in a situation where both active and retired persons are participants. In the second instance he or she is being asked to attend because of his or her rank … to represent the Armed Services at an event. Thus he or she is addressed as an officer, and the active/retired status is relevant.
An example of a social situation would be you (3) sending a holiday card to a neighbor who is a retired officer or enlisted person and that person preferring to be addressed on the envelope as (Rank) + (Name) … or (4) that person issuing a wedding invitation for his daughter’s wedding and using his or her rank on the invitation …. Major Robert Wilson and Mrs. Wilson cordially invite you … etc.
In both 3 & 4 it is clear that the force and prestige of the US Armed Services are not related to the activity.
Any retired armed service person, at his or her preference, can use their rank socially.
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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I have a question that I cannot seem to find an answer to.
Mayor-Elect Rahm Emanuel is coming to our building today. If I have the occasion to address him personally, should I call him Your Honor even though he will not take office for two months? Or is he simply Mr. Emanuel still?
– Laurie in Chicago

Dear Laurie:
Address him as Mr. Emanuel.
He will be addressed with the forms of address due a Mayor when he takes the oath and is sworn in.  He is already The Honorable Rahm Emanuel on a letter because he has been elected office, but won’t be addressed as the mayor until he takes office.
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

 

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I am writing to obtain your help in answering a question for my husband’s parent’s 50th Wedding Anniversary invitation.  My husband, Tom, and I will host the event. What is the proper way to list our names? His parent’s names?
The children of …
Dick and Jeane Merrill
Mr. and Mrs. Richard Merrill
– Barbara Merrill

Dear Ms. Merrill:
I am not so sure you need to identify yourselves as children. I’d list the hosts as the hosts — and people will either know … or will figure it out!
Use whatever level of formality you want … as long as you do it consistently.
So … to honor first

To honor
Dick and Jeane Merrill
on their
fiftieth wedding anniversary
Tom and Barbara Merrill
invite you to a
cocktail buffet
Saturday, the twenty first of June
at seven o’clock
The Century Club
Athens, Georgia

Or list the hosts first and the honorees second

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Merrill
request the pleasure of your company
at a dinner dance
In honor of the
fiftieth wedding anniversary
of
Mr. and Mrs. Richard Merrill
Saturday, the twenty first of June
at seven o’clock
The Century Club
Athens, Georgia

Put attire and your request for reply text at the bottom.
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

 

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On Saturday, I will be formally introduced to the Premier of Manitoba. I’ve been unable to find the correct “greeting”. Would you be kind enough to tell me how I should refer to this individual when meeting him?
– Katie S.

Dear Ms. S.:
I include that form on page 308 of my book. Premiers of Canadian provinces are most formally addressed in conversation simply by their office.
So in conversation the most formal response is:
Premier, it is a pleasure to meet you.
Not sure why Canadian’s don’t use Premier (name) … but none of the references suggest it.
Canadians also address their premiers as Mr./Ms. (name).
So less formally it would also be acceptable to say:
Mr. Selinger, it is a pleasure to meet you.
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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