Difference Between Miss, Ms. & Mrs.

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

When referring to a female, you might use the words Miss, Ms. or Mrs. Come and learn about what each word means, as well as receive some guidance about how to select the most appropriate term.


Depending on what stage of life we are in, we are referred to by different names. Sometimes, we are called by our first names. If we are parents, our children call us Mom or Dad. If we are grandparents, we might be called Grandma or Grandpa. Sometimes, people will speak to us or write us a letter or an email using a personal title followed by your last name. If you are a man, your personal title would be Mr. If you are a doctor, your personal title would be Dr. If you are a woman (who is not a doctor), then there are three different possibilities: Miss, Mrs. or Ms. Let's review how to decide which personal title is most appropriate for a female. These are general guidelines. Some women may prefer a different title than what's common, and if you know someone personally, you can ask which title that person prefers.

When to Use Miss

Let's pretend that you want to write an email to your newest next door neighbor, Marsha Brown. Marsha is a high school student and you want to see if she would be interested in watching your dog while your family is away on vacation. You don't know her very well yet, so you don't feel comfortable calling her Marsha. However, you know with 100% certainty that she has never been married. In this case, you would begin the email with 'Miss Brown.' Miss should be used with young, unmarried women.

This little girl would be called

When to Use Mrs.

Your mom wants to write a note to your teacher to ask her if she can bring cupcakes in for your birthday (yes!). Your teacher's name is Caroline Parker, but you know that she just got married over the weekend. Her husband's name is Joe Burns and you remember that she talked to your class about changing her name from Parker to Burns. In this case, your mom would address the note to 'Mrs. Burns.' If a woman is married, she is a Mrs.

Now that she has said

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