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Hi,

I am writing a letter to a certain person, a female.

I was going to use "to whom it may concern", but I have been advised to actually address the letter to the recipient - let's just say her name is Shirley Jones.

Now, my question is this: if I am unsure if Shirley is married, do I use Miss., Mrs., or Ms.?

Which one is most appropriate?
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Comments  
Hi Sync,

Welcome to the forums.

The short answer is to use "Ms." if you don't know, and I would use it anyway for a business letter. (Never use "to whom it may concern" if you know the person's name.)

There are several threads that address this - here is just one. [Post]26946[/post]
Sync
Hi,

I am writing a letter to a certain person, a female.

I was going to use "to whom it may concern", but I have been advised to actually address the letter to the recipient - let's just say her name is Shirley Jones.

Now, my question is this: if I am unsure if Shirley is married, do I use Miss., Mrs., or Ms.?

Which one is most appropriate?

Ms. or Ms

(Btw, 'Miss' should not end in a full stop.)
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What's about Madam?
Thank you both for your timely responses!

Emotion: big smile
SpinnakerWhat's about Madam?
Well, if I was unsure of the persons sex, I could use "Dear Sir or Madam".

But since I know her name, it would be inappropriate, I think, to address her as "Madam Shirley"!

Emotion: surprise
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Most assuredly not! "Madam" has (in the U.S.) become associated with running a house of prostitution. You should be very careful how it's used.
Grammar GeekMost assuredly not! "Madam" has (in the U.S.) become associated with running a house of prostitution. You should be very careful how it's used.
Really? I didn't know that and just learned this sentence.

Spinnaker
Grammar Geek
Most assuredly not! "Madam" has (in the U.S.) become associated with running a house of prostitution. You should be very careful how it's used.

Really? I didn't know that and just learned this sentence.

According to Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary,

"Madam" is used when speaking or writing to a woman in a formal or business situation: Can I help you, madam?

Dear Madam ( = used like Dear Sir in a letter)

I don't know whether the above is different in AmE.

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