Archive for March, 2012

How would I address an envelope to the Commandant of Midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy?  His rank is captain.
      — Nan King 

Dear Ms. King:
     The rule is to address him by rank and identify him by the office held. So first use the standard form for addressing a USN Captain … the list his job … and then the address.
The correct form is:
                Rank & Name        Captain (Full Name), USN
                Office                        Commandant of …
                Address                   Address
      — Robert Hickey

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I am a calligrapher who is writing wedding invitation envelopes for a couple who has a form-of-address question: A married couple who both use the husband’s surname is being invited.  The woman is a recent medical school graduate.  The man will be graduating from medical school within a few weeks after the date of the wedding.
How should the couple be addressed on the envelopes of the invitation?
      — KNR 

Dear KNR:
        1) Officially one only has any degree when one has the diploma in hand.
        2) People with “Dr.” have higher precedence than people who are “Mr./Ms.” — unless the “Mr./Ms.” is actually the intended guest and the “Dr.” is being included only as a courtesy to the “Mr./Ms.”  In that case the higher precedence is granted to the intended guest.
But for this I will assume they are being invited equally … so … she is higher.
So most formally it would be:
                Dr. Cynthia Wilson
                and Mr. Thomas Wilson
Inside envelope use:
                Dr. and Mr. Wilson
If this sort of thing comes up often, I cover this in my book.
In Chapter 9: Joint Forms of Address, on page 141 I show the variations of ‘Doctors’ in couples … for both those using the same surname and different surnames.
     – Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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