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June 24, 2006


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When referencing a husband and wife and the husband has a suffix such as Jr., do I list them as John and Jane Smith, Jr. or John and Jane Smith?


Jessica, it depends what you mean by "referencing." If you are greeting them in a letter, see my December 18, 2006, post. If you are writing about them, you have several choices:

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith Jr.
John Smith Jr. and Jane Smith
John and Jane Smith

You cannot include Jr. after the name Jane Smith.

LaVada Terrell

How do you address, in a letter, a former governor, now attorney-at law?


Do you address a JD (doctor of law) as Dr. in the salutation? Thanks.


Cathy, you use normal courtesy titles with attorneys, that is, Mr. Ms., Miss, and Mrs.


Cathy, you use normal courtesy titles with attorneys, that is, Mr. Ms., Miss, and Mrs.

Cynthia LaBombard

What salutation do I use to the President and members of our Historical Society?

Thank you for a prompt response.



Why not "Dear Members"? I assume you have a vice president, secretary, treasurer, and perhaps other officers besides the president. Why single out the president?


What salutation do I use to to address two couples with the same last name that live at the same address?


What sort of salutation would I use when addressing a group of park district board members containing one lady and several men? Thanks

yvon bouchard

I have been using Dear Sir/Madame: as a salutation to correspondence when addressing a specific title yet unknowing of who is at the other end.

Is this proper?


Yvon, you can use "Dear Sir or Madam." Another choice is just to address the title, like this:
"Dear Librarian."

Correspondence is much more effective when we know the name of our readers.


What is the proper business letter salutation for two doctors (medical or dental). Would it be "Drs. Smith:", "Dr. and Dr. Smith:", or something different?

Any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

Amy L. Norris

What salutation is best used when you do not know the name or gender of the person who will be receiving the letter? A letter to be received by a company where any of 100 employees could be the one responding?


EP and Amy, I have written about those topics. Just type your key terms in the search box on this site to narrow your search and find the answer.

Keren Pickard

Dear Lynn,

I am currently consulting a company that does lobbying work with various government agencies such as EPA and USDA. Do special rules exist for writing to these authorities (particularly formal, special titles, etc.)? So far, I have been unable to find anything dealing with this...only information on elected officials. Thanks for your help!

Karen Ciampa

Dear Lynn
Can you tell me how to address a letter to a Mayor and his spouse.
I have addressed it to The Honorable and Mrs....., now, how to start the letter - Dear Mayor and Mrs. ?

doris badia

I believe it is proper English for a salutation on an outside envelope to be: John & Jane Smith. My question is this inproper: Mr. & Mrs. John & Jane Smith???

ever make a guess as to the gender of the person to whom you are writing the letter. If the name is not gender specific, or if it is an ethnic name that you do not know the gender rules, do not guess. There are many people named "Chris," for example, who are very annoyed by being called the wrong gender. When in doubt, play it safe and use the full name instead of a courtesy title.

Gerri Lotenero

Is is proper when addressing a husband and wife in a legal letter to use the & sign as in Mr. & Mrs. Scott Doe, then use Dear Mr. & Mrs. Doe??


How do I address a letter to a husband and wife, and the wife has not taken the husbands last name?


When a husband and wife are both medical doctors, what do I use in the address block and salutation? Would I use Dear Dr. and Mrs. Smith in the address block and salutation or Dear Drs. Smith?

Business Writing Blog

Hi, Jo. Please see my post "When Doctors Marry." Just type that phrase in the search box at upper right.


Vicky Madrigal

How do I address a person in the salutation if his name ends with the III or the IV? Example, Mr. John Smith III. Can we omit the III in the salutation?

Business Writing Blog

Hi, Vicky. You do not use III, IV, or a form such as Jr. in the salutation. Only use those forms when you write someone's entire name.

In your example, this would be correct:

Dear Mr. Smith:


Maria Wong

I want to send an invitation to a female colleague and her husband. How do I address them?

Ms Jane Smith and husband, or
Mdm Jane Smith and spouse

Business Writing Blog

Hi, Maria. It depends on his name, which you need to learn. You cannot refer to him as "husband" or "spouse."

Then you can follow the rules I discussed in a January 4 post this year, "A New Way to Address and List Married Couples." Type the words "A New Way to Address" in the search box on the upper right on this page, and you will find the post.


liz potter

I would like to know how to address an envelope to a dentist and his wife, it is a congradulations card.

Business Writing Blog

Hi, Liz. Please read my post "A New Way to Address and List Married Couples." (Just copy the title into the search box without quotation marks.) Replace "Mr." with "Dr."



What is the proper way to address a husband and wife, where the wife uses a hyphenated last name -
Is it Mr. John Smith and Mrs. Suzy Dean-Smith and the saluation being Mr. Smith and Mrs. Dean-Smith?

Business Writing Blog

ROA, I have covered that question in my post "A New Way to Address and List Married Couples." Just copy that title into the search box at upper right.


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