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Archive for April, 2013

Dear Mr. Hickey.
I will be meeting the Pope. If I introduce him, would you say, “May I introduce the Holy Father, Pope Francis” or would you say, “May I present His Holiness” and not use Francis in the introduction?
~ Meeting the Pope

Dear Meeting the Pope:
(All this is covered on page 282 in my book.)
The Holy Father is so high he is never introduced to anyone: individuals are presented to The Holy Father. He requires no introduction: anyone about to meet the Pope already knows who he is. Rather he is announced …. as he enters a room an aide says so all can hear  “His Holiness” … and that’s it.
It is more likely you, are any of the rest of us, will be introduced to the Pope. In that case the introducer would say “Your Holiness may I present (name of the other person).”
As to whether his name is ever used: Neither you, I, nor anyone else ever will call him Francis … he is addressed in conversation as “Your Holiness.” So that’s how you will reply to your introduction.
This not using the name is also the rule for other very high officials.  For example, the Queen of the United Kingdom is never addressed as Queen Elizabeth… she is always addressed as “Your Majesty”
 — Robert Hickey    http://www.formsofaddress.info/faq.html

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I have a hard time writing The Honorable when I don’t find the official honorable(living with a woman not his wife, lying, corrupt etc.). Is it completely ignorant, to just use their official title such as Senator (Name)Governor (Name), etc?  I am respectful when writing to government officials, but that title galls me in some cases.  However, I don’t want my letters to be ignored just because of a lack of political etiquette.  So how crucial is it?
          — G.C.

Dear G.C.,
The Honorable is a courtesy title which we in the U.S. have addressed elected officials since the late 1700’s. If you want someone to pay attention to you, starting the conversation in a way they think is respectful — is key to getting their attention. I know how I feel when I get a misaddressed letter, or get a letter with my name misspelled: I know for sure they don’t actually know me, and the letter is going to be a waste of time.
You write “I have a hard time writing The Honorable when I don’t find the official honorable.”  I get variations on that question often:
          * Should I call the rabbi, Rabbi (Name), which means master or great one, if I am not Jewish?
          * Can I not address the mayor as Mayor (Name) if I voted against him?
Of course, you can do whatever you want to do, but, it’s standard practice to address an official in a hierarchy with their traditional forms of address. To push one’s opinion into a conversation — not on that specific topic — may make the conversation a waste of time.
So I say if you are taking the time to write a letter, address it in the way it’s most likely to get the greatest attention.
— Robert Hickey    http://www.formsofaddress.info/faq.html

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My friend has not announced this yet, but she is retiring, leaving her post with the state government, and I helping her to get business cards made.  Is she going to be anemeritus or emerita?
 — Dan

Dear Dan,
Emerita is correct for use by a woman. Emeritus/emerita are the masculine and feminine forms of the adjective. Of course, some women use emeritus like some women use chairman without thinking about gender agreement. But there are many professors recognized as an Professor Emerita in academia.
You say she is retiring, and so while I am at it, I will mention the difference between being retired and being an emeritus/emerita. The difference is thatemeritus/emerita implies a continuing relationship with one’s former office and organization, and it’s the office or institution that grants the emeritus/emerita status.
    E.G. At universities while a Professor Emeritus/a might not be getting his or her former salary ….. they would keep a ID card, any faculty discounts, continue to be seated and be recognized at graduations, be listed as a member of the faculty in the catalog, still use the faculty dining room, have access to the university clinic & athletic facilities, even have an office, and serve on committees.
So it shouldn’t be your friend determining if she is an emerita, it’s her former employer.
         — Robert Hickey   http://www.formsofaddress.info/faq.html

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I was wondering if you could assist me with something?  I have a new City Manager of the City of Montgomery, coming in to visit our company this Friday.  Would he beThe Honorable?  If I was to put his title on an agenda how would I format it, possibly as I have stated below?
The Honorable Edvin Perez
Montgomery City Manager

 — Shelby in Aerospace

Is our county administrator The Honorable just like a mayor?
           — Marc in Michigan

Dear Shelby & Marc:
City managers and administrators are NOT The Honorable …  because because they were hired/appointed by the elected body … the city council … but were not themselves elected.
Only the elected officials get  The Honorable.
 So address them as:
  Mr./Ms./Dr./etc. (Full Name)
(Name of Job) (Name of Jurisdiction)

 — Robert Hickey

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Can you still call yourself Professor after you’ve retired?
        — S.H.W.

Dear S.H.W.,
In the U.S.: probably not. 
Elsewhere in the world: probably.
In the U.S., use of Professor (Name) is most often used in oral address — as a courtesy given by others to you — rather than used in writing or used by you when presenting your own name.
A retired professor with a doctorate would continue to be Dr. (Name), and identified in an introduction or bio as a former professor.  He or she would not present himself/herself as Professor (Name), but a former student might see you and greet you as Professor (Name).
It’s done a bit differently in Commonwealth countries, where names are more of a resume/curriculum vitae, including every honorific, courtesy title, honor, and degree the person has been awarded. The names get very, very, very long, and they would include Professor if they ever were one.
Around the world, they definitely include Professor with their names if they ever taught a course anywhere. You will see it most often in monarchies (and in South America and the Middle East) where marks of status (special forms of address) are part of the culture and everyone is trying to get their names to be more elevated. They use many specialized honorifics, not limiting themselves to just Mr./Mrs./Ms., using for example Lawyer (Name), Engineer (Name), Architect (Name), Accountant (Name), etc.
      — Robert Hickey      http://www.formsofaddress.info/faq.html

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