Dr. and Dr. (?)

SwissPete

Senior Member
Français (CH), AE (California)
I am writing my Christmas cards. I have to send one to my physician, whose wife is also a physician. How to I address the envelope?

I don’t know her personally, but I inquire about her every time I see him. I usually refer to her, verbally, as “Mrs. Dr. Smith”, Smith being his last name. She does use his last name in her profession.

I am totally lost!

Please keep in mind that he tends to be quite formal. Whereas I call another physician of mine by his first name, if I tried that with Dr. Smith he would probably remind me that his first name is “Doctor”. :D
 
  • Juuuergen

    Senior Member
    American English
    Hmm, tough one, but I would say "Doctors Mr. and Mrs. Smith." But then again, I would imagine "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" by itself will do, and I know this is grammatically correct.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    In that situation, as you have stolen my favoured solution in the small print, I would address my envelope to:
    Drs AB and CD O'Logist.

    I would never address anything to Dr Mr O'Logist, or Dr Mrs O'Logist.
    You have one or the other, or something else, but never both.

    (Note that I don't include stops in this context, but that doesn't make any difference.)
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    My sister got her doctorate before her husband and correspondance used to come addressed to

    Doctor and Mr. Kurtz

    ("Doctor" had eminence over "Mr." and I thought that was a fairly amusing change from the traditional "Mr. and Mrs. Kurtz").


    Later my brother-in-law got is doctorate and the correspondence would arrive addressed to:


    The Doctors Kurtz


    In any case I would never say "Doctor Mrs. ...".

    If she has a title (professor for example) it would be proper to refer to her as "Professor Smith" or "Mrs. Smith" or ever "Mrs. Paul Smith" (assuming her husband's name is Paul).
     
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    jazzy leigh

    Member
    US
    Mexican Spanish"
    I don't think that works. She is not "Mrs. Dr. Ronald Ross".

    I would go with panjandrum's suggestion.


    Mr and Mrs Dr.Ronald Ross not just Mrs Ronald Ross
    It is a respect for the husband.you can actually google that.
     
    Last edited:

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    What I am saying is that she is a doctor in her own right and such an address does not indicate that. It appears from your suggestion that she is the wife of Dr. Ronald Ross. The situation here is that Mrs. Ross is also a doctor, so they both deserve the title in the address. If her name is Linda, for example, her professional name is Dr. Linda Ross, not Mrs. Dr. Ronald Ross.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Mr and Mrs Dr.Ronald Ross not just Mrs Ronald Ross
    It is a respect for the husband.you can actually google that.
    No, this is wrong. One does not use "Mr." and "Dr." at the same time. If you do not want to acknowledge the fact that the wife is a doctor, then you may write:
    Dr. and Mrs. John Doe

    One may refer to Dr. Doe's wife as "Mrs. Doe", but not "Mrs. Dr. Doe". In the same way, a general's wife is not "Mrs. General Smith", she is just "Mrs. Smith", and Franklin Roosevelt's wife was not "Mrs. President Roosevelt", but simply Mrs. Roosevelt.

    On the other hand, if you want to acknowledge the fact that both husband and wife are doctors, then you may write:
    Dr. John Doe
    Dr. Mary Doe

    OR

    Drs. John and Mary Doe

    OR

    The Doctors Doe
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    It may be a different set of customs in the Philippines but in the U.S. (and, from what other contributors say, in the UK) we do not combine titles. Neither "Mr. Dr. Ronald Ross" nor "Mrs. Dr. Ronald Ross" nor even "Mrs. Dr. Linda Ross" would be acceptable. We never combine titles, as GWB said. We use only the most prominent title. It gets even a bit more complicated than that in diplomatic settings but in general social circles this rule applies here.
     

    djmc

    Senior Member
    English - United Kingdom
    I have a doctorate my husband doesn't. I would accept Mr F and Dr M Bloggs, Mr and Mrs Bloggs, Fred and Mary Bloggs. I dislike Mr and Mrs Fred Bloggs or Mr and Mrs F. Bloggs, and if anyone ever tried to call me Mrs Fred Bloggs, I am not sure what I would do but hanging seems too good for them. I do not insist on my doctorate but dislike being thought to being an appendage of my husband. I would address friends as Fred and Mary, More formally I would address Dr F and Dr M Bloggs.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    There is a hierarchy on titles (in the USA at any rate) and custom has it that the higher title goes first.

    In general (with apologies to the feminists):

    1. Dr.
    2. Mr.
    3. Mrs.

    Somewhere below Dr. would be Professor, but I'm not sure if it is in position #2 or not.

    So you would normally say, "Mr. & Mrs. Smith", but never "Mr. and Dr. Smith".

    You could say, "Dr. Paul Smith and his wife, Mrs. Phyllis Smith", but I would not expect to hear, "Dr. Smith and Mrs. Smith" though it sounds OK to me.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Somewhere below Dr. would be Professor,
    Actually, Professor is considered a higher title than Doctor, although it is best used socially only by the holder of an endowed chair.

    You could say, "Dr. Paul Smith and his wife, Mrs. Phyllis Smith",
    If one is old fashioned, "Mrs. Phyllis Smith" is a divorcee who is no longer married to Dr. Paul Smith. According to the old concept (pace, liberated women -- and men -- of modern days), a married woman took her social rank from her husband. Thus, from her marriage in 1947 to her accession as Queen in 1952, the heir to the British throne was called "Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Edinburgh" rather than "Princess Elizabeth". If one does not like addressing the wife of Vincent Astor as "Mrs. Vincent Astor" because it eliminates her first name, one can switch to "Ms." It would thus be fine to speak of "Ms. Brooke Astor", or "Mrs. Vincent Astor", but "Mrs. Brooke Astor" (as the lady herself would have told you) was not appropriate.

    but I would not expect to hear, "Dr. Smith and Mrs. Smith" though it sounds OK to me.
    I certainly would expect to hear it; I find nothing odd about it at all.

    It is always interesting to see how this problem gets handled in modern social usage by looking at the list of donors to socially prominent charities and causes. Looking at the list of donors to the Metropolitan Opera, for example, I find all of the following forms:

    Dr. Agnes Varis and Karl Leichtman (they are a married couple)
    Dr. Waine and Deanna Johnson
    Dr. and Mrs. Thomas P. Sculco

    It is also interesting to note that on that list, if both first names are used, and the person does not have a title such as "Ambassador" or "Dr.", no honorific is typically attached:
    Joan Taub Ades and Alan M. Ades
    Michael and Miriam Burnside

    Honorifics are generally only shown if the standard "Mr and Mrs." form is used:
    Mr. and Mrs. Sid R. Bass

    Most of the men and women listed alone on that list do not get honorifics either; the leading exception is for women who are listed with their husband's name:
    Mrs. Robert M. Greenhood

    Of course, this is just how one organization handles the matter; there are always other ways.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I can't see the problem with writing just 'Dr and Dr Smith'. Okay, it doesn't distinguishes them, but nor does 'J. and J. Smith', which I would also use if those were their initials and I was writing at that level of formality.

    Of course in German-speaking countries you can be 'Prof. Dr. Dr. So-and-so'.

    Really I just want to comment on this thread so I can quote the bit in Fawlty Towers: http://www.fawltysite.net/the-psychiatrist.htm 'You're two doctors?'
     

    Gwan

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    If one is old fashioned, "Mrs. Phyllis Smith" is a divorcee who is no longer married to Dr. Paul Smith. If one does not like addressing the wife of Vincent Astor as "Mrs. Vincent Astor" because it eliminates her first name, one can switch to "Ms." It would thus be fine to speak of "Ms. Brooke Astor", or "Mrs. Vincent Astor", but "Mrs. Brooke Astor" (as the lady herself would have told you) was not appropriate.
    One is not old-fashioned, and one has always thought (wrongly or rightly...) of Ms. as indicating either a divorced woman or a woman who chooses not to indicate her marital status with a title. ;D
    I would also be inclined to get slappy if someone ever referred to me as Mrs. John Smith.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    ...

    I certainly would expect to hear it; I find nothing odd about it at all.
    Seeing or hearing "Dr. Smith and Mrs. Smith" brings ambiguity to my ears.

    I would expect to hear Dr. and Mrs. Smith (as a married couple).

    But Dr. Smith and Mrs. Smith sounds very much like two separate entities; more like Dr. Smith and his sister-in-law, Mrs. Smith (or perhaps his grandmother or mother).

    In any case the format does not necessitate that they be understood to be a "couple", when that is the point of the O.P. So I would not expect to hear "Dr. Smith and Mrs. Smith" in this context.
     

    Aaar

    Senior Member
    English -USA
    Emily Post says:

    Both are doctors (PhD or medical) and use the same last name:
    The Doctors Kelly (omit first names)
    Drs. Jane and John Kelly / Drs. John and Jane Kelly
    Dr. John Kelly and Dr. Jane Kelly / Dr. Jane Kelly and Dr. John Kelly​
    Both are doctors (PhD or medical), she uses her maiden name:
    Dr. Jane Johnson and Dr. John Kelly
    Dr. John Kelly and Dr. Jane Johnson​
     

    Sepia

    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    ...

    If she has a title (professor for example) it would be proper to refer to her as "Professor Smith" or "Mrs. Smith" or ever "Mrs. Paul Smith" (assuming her husband's name is Paul).
    I am aware that some people go about it this way.

    Is there a tendency (or should I say, a slim chance) that enough people don't consider this the proper way any more - so that we may soon totally forget about it?

    I mean, women have their own names. Personally I object when my Canadian relatives adress my wife that way.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I am aware that some people go about it this way.

    Is there a tendency (or should I say, a slim chance) that enough people don't consider this the proper way any more - so that we may soon totally forget about it?

    I mean, women have their own names. Personally I object when my Canadian relatives adress my wife that way.

    I don't know. In cases where protocol is important (such as the addressing of wedding invitations) I believe this is still followed, but I think most people simply drop the "Mrs." (or use "Ms.") in order to avoid any conflict between tradition and perception. :) Usually the same people who find "Mrs. Paul Smith" objectionable also see no reason to draw attention to her marital status.
     

    spodulike

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I don’t know her personally, but I inquire about her every time I see him. I usually refer to her, verbally, as “Mrs. Dr. Smith”, Smith being his last name. She does use his last name in her profession.

    Please keep in mind that he tends to be quite formal. Whereas I call another physician of mine by his first name, if I tried that with Dr. Smith he would probably remind me that his first name is “Doctor”. :D
    Well it is a little late for Christmas cards now! With regards to inquiring about his wife, You could say "How is your wife?" or to be really formal "How is the doctor your wife?"

    I personally would ask him. "Dr. Smith, as a non-native English speaker (;)) I am wondering how I should inquire about your wife. Should I say ´How is Mrs. Smith or should I ask "How is Mrs. Dr. Smith" as I usually do?". See what he says and do that !
     
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