Hi, I'd greatly appreciate anyone's help.

What should I use for addressing to a woman in a cover letter when it does not tell us?
Ms, Mrs or Miss.

Dear madam/sir could be used if there was no name. However usually, there is a name e.g., Contact: Amanda Moore

Miss is for unmarried women. 
Mrs is for married women.
Ms is for 'unknowns' and any woman who wishes to use it.

If you don't know use Ms. as it is neutral regarding marital status.

A widower is a man. Most widows, I think, prefer Mrs. Nor do divorced women necessarily use Ms-- Miss is also available for those who prefer it.
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The use of style Ms is an informal and spoken way of addressing one who prefers not to be called Mrs. or

Miss. In formal correspondence and anything written however, the only two forms that are correct are Mrs. For married women and Miss for unmarried women.

For those who feel uncomfortable with style Miss. Madam is the spoken upon greeting and Ma’am subsequently. How ever please note that the use of Ms. Is not to be used in formal correspondence be it spoken or written.


If the marital status is unknown, use Ms. If the woman's preference is unknown, use Ms. If the woman prefers Ms., use it. (And it is definitely pronounced Mizz.)

If you know the woman is married, use the title the woman prefers if you know her preference. If you don't know the preference, there is a judgment call. If it is a business situation, I would use Ms. If it is a teacher, I would use Ms. (I remember in school, several teachers did not make it clear and we mumbled something halfway in-between.) For casual acquaintances, I would use Ms. However, with my childhood friends' mothers, I still use Mrs. It just feels right. I've never asked their preference and after so many years it would be awkward.

Also, someone mentioned calling their friend's mothers by their first names. I do for some, when I met them as an adult, but I just can't imagine calling my best friend's mother Catherine. I've known her since I was six. She has always been and will always be Mrs. X to me.

Names are given but also are a personal choice. My wife took my last name. She uses Mrs. Her First Name Our Last Name. However, she frequently gets mail addressed Ms. She takes no offense; she knows they don't know she is married or don't know she prefers Mrs.

My sister-in-law had an established career when she married my brother. She kept her maiden name. She uses Mrs. Her Maiden Name.

I know other women that prefer Ms. In business, I don't think you can ever go wrong with Ms.

Miss is not used much anymore. I don't know any women that prefer to be called Miss. Here in the South, it is still used as a term of respect or endearment in the form: Miss First Name. It isn't that common and don't do it with someone that isn't family or a close friend. The movie Driving Miss Daisy is a good example of this use. I'll call my nieces Miss. First Name, albeit somewhat sarcastically. Mothers will use it when angry at their daughters. Miss First Name get in here right now!

AnonymousSimply reply To Whom it May Concern:
No, no, and no!

You know who sent the correspondence. You know her name. The only thing you don't know is whether to use "Miss" or "Mrs." or "Ms." As this thread should have made abudantely clear, if you don't know, use "Ms."

You use "To whom is may concern" only when any number of yet unkonwn people may read it - a letter of recommendation, perhaps. You would never use it when you know the recipient but simply not her marital status.

It's time to lock this thread before any additional well-meaning but totally erroneous advice is given.
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What's the big deal about it all?
It's so simple, no need for any further discussion.

With my neighboors, teachers at school and women I know who are married I've always used Mrs.

As for women I don't know I always stick to Ms. and have never had a problem. I don't think it sounds impolite.

Young girls I just call by the first name.

As for Miss...I don't use it that much. I remember using it a few times in school because I had some single teachers.

Concluding, I think titles are a part of an old society. I don't think that calling a person by his/her first name shows disrespect at all. My mother for instance prefers to be called by her first name and all of my friends do so. Besides, I also call many of my friends' mothers by their first names and we all have a good relationship.

Let's evolve our minds, we're in the 21st century.
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what would you use for a widowed woman?

i know divorced is ms, so would it be the same for a widower?
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 Mister Micawber's reply was promoted to an answer.

If it does not say which to use, your best option is to use Ms. as this courtesy title is regardless of her marital status.

As a dutch girl, pronunciation is sometimes a bit tricky for me.

Is there a difference between Ms and Miss?? ( does it end in /z/ or /s/?)
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the Z sound.

Ms. - miz
Mrs. - misses
Miss - miss

I've always pronounced Ms as "muzz".

Frankly I've never liked Ms because it's a horrible sound, and really hate being wrongly labelled Ms myself. If I didn't know which title someone preferred I think I would forego the title completely and simply write "Dear Forname Surname".

Miss Q
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