Archive for November, 2013

How should I address/write my former Pastor’s name on an envelope?  Is he the Reverend (Full Name), Emeritus Pastor? Or is it Pastor Emeritus?
         — C.F.

Dear C.F.,
The form would be Pastor Emeritus.
  1) Emeritus implies a continuing relationship with an organization. So, you would not be the one granting the title of pastor emeritus. If he is the Pastor Emeritus a congregation, the congregation would create that title for him.
   2) Are you writing him as your “pastor” or as “pastor emeritus of a congregation”? You don’t need to designate him as pastor emeritus if you are writing to him as your pastor: he can be your pastor forever. So (perhaps) the emeritus is not pertinent in personal communication?
    — Robert Hickey     http://www.formsofaddress.info/faq.html

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May I please ask how I should address a princess of Poland?
     — CarolineDear Caroline,
I only cover official forms of address. Since the monarchy & ranks of nobility in Poland were officially abolished, there are no longer official forms of address for those who held Polish noble titles. In contrast, a British Duke receives the courtesies of his rank (precedence and forms of address are courtesies of rank). But a duke of Poland is now, formally, a private citizen — and has no official precedence or official form of address.
But all that said, for a person whose ancestors held a noble title, the title is a issue of great personal pride and family honor. To find out the form of address he or she prefers in social situations, you need to do a bit a research. E.g., Princes of principalities are His/Her Serene Highness. So that might be her preference. Or, she might consider herself a member of a king/queen’s royal family and want to be addressed as His/Her Royal Highness.  I heard of a Polish princess who wanted to be addressed as Her Imperial Highness which didn’t make much sense to me, but who would I be to argue? Some of the Italian princes and princesses want to be socially addressed directly as Prince/Princess (Name). This is not how one would address a British Prince … but it must work for the Italians.
— Robert Hickey

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I have an example referring to a former president as “The Honorable (Name)”  Is that incorrect?  Yet I also find that one should call a former president as “Mr. (Last Name), and identify him as a former president. So what should I say to formally introduce a former president?
            — MJH

Dear MJH:
Former U.S. elected officials are The Honorable (Full Name). 
All of these would be correct for a formal introduction:
The Honorable William Jefferson Clinton,
President of the United States. 1993-2001

The Honorable William Jefferson Clinton,
                   Former president of the United States
          The Honorable William Jefferson Clinton
                   42nd president of the United States
If you just first & last name – William Clinton – that would constitute a (Full Name) too. I would not suggest using his nickname – Bill Clinton – with The Honorable.
This is correct for direct address, in a one-on-one introduction, or in conversation:
  Mr. Clinton
— Robert Hickey      http://www.formsofaddress.info/faq.html

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What is the proper way to address a former astronaut?
There is a lawsuit in California regarding former astronaut running for Congress. Is he or is he not allowed to call himself Astronaut (Name) in his campaign if he is not currently an astronaut?
       — Brian K. in California

Dear Brian K.,
Being an astronaut is not a personal rank one attains and keeps. It is more like being a chef, teacher, shepherd or lifeguard: a job one holds — in this case – held. He’s rightfully able to identify himself as having been an astronaut.
There is no personal rank granted for being an astronaut, and no special honorific used when directly addressing an astronaut.
A candidate for political office is correctly addressed as Mr./Ms. (Name).
Many astronauts are or have been military officers and thus are socially addressed by rank in retirement. It would not be appropriate for a retired officer to use his/herrank as part of his/her name in a campaign for public office.
If he’s no longer in the NASA program (which you seem to say he is not) perhaps most accurately he would be identified in text or in an introduction as a one of the NASA (name of mission) astronauts or something similar.
       — Robert Hickey    http://www.formsofaddress.info/faq.html


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