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Is former a formal substitute for ex and therefore, is usually used in formal writing?

The police are looking for the woman's [former/ex] husband and his accomplices.

Thanks in advance
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Hi,

Is former a formal substitute for ex and therefore, is usually used in formal writing? Yes. Actually, 'ex' is just a prefix that attaches to another word, usually with a hyphen, eg ex-husband.

The police are looking for the woman's [former/ex] husband and his accomplices.

Best wishes, Clive
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It's worth noting that the two terms are taken as very different by U.S. Marines.

A "former" Marine is someone who completed their service honorably, and has likewise lived honorably since their service. Someone who during or after their service commits a "reprehensible crime such as lying about their service record, theft, rape or murder" becomes an "ex-Marine". Refer to a former Marine as an ex-Marine and they get seriously unhappy.

I'm certainly not claiming exhaustive knowledge, but I've never seen this sort of distinction between the terms used outside of the Marine Corps.
Thank you, Anon. That's an interesting point!
Hi,
I wonder if women class former and ex- husbands in the same way?
Clive
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Sorry, but that is absolute nonsense. I am a Vietnam veteran, honorably discharged from The United States Marine Corps in 1971. From then on I referred to myself, and was warmly referred to by others, as an ex-Marine. I went on to college under the GI bill, then to the military medical school, USUHS--- always referred to as an ex-Marine by my classmates, most of whom were active duty line officers before they entered USUHS. Later, as a USN Medical Officer, I served two years at the USMC Mountain Warfare Training Center in Northern California, and then four years at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton. Every single active duty Marine I had contact with referred to me as an ex-Marine. Every single Marine retiree I had contact referred to himself as an ex-Marine.

The "former" qualifier came into use much later, and as far as I can tell is, for some bizarre and arbitrary reason, considered 'politically correct'. The term former Marine is fine if you choose to use it. However, I will not be corrected but whippersnappers who were not even born yet when I
was, again, honorably, discharged from the Corps.

And PS: the third person singular is he, him, and his--- not 'their'.
AnonymousIt's worth noting that the two terms are taken as very different by U.S. Marines.

A "former" Marine is someone who completed their service honorably, and has likewise lived honorably since their service. Someone who during or after their service commits a "reprehensible crime such as lying about their service record, theft, rape or murder" becomes an "ex-Marine". Refer to a former Marine as an ex-Marine and they get seriously unhappy.

I'm certainly not claiming exhaustive knowledge, but I've never seen this sort of distinction between the terms used outside of the Marine Corps.


I'm sorry but you are so wrong it's not funny. The proper address for the President of the US is both EX and Former;they both mean the exact same thing. Ex is used in the singular such as Ex-Marine and former refers to a group such all Former Marines. I'm An Ex-Marine and I'm telling you that some ass of Drill instructor with no education started this crap.
Yes, many Marines get their panties in a bunch about being called "ex-Marine". I'm not one of them; I'm proudly an ex-Marine.

"Ex-" and "Former" mean the exact same thing.

In fact, "Former" is worse, because it's an extra syllable and three extra characters that you have to write or type. Marines are all about efficiency, so this meaningless distinction baffles me.
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I agree with you.I am an x air force member.But i was formerly in the Air Force also.
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