M/S followed by a Company Name?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by son-nie, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. son-nie New Member

    I usually encounter "M/S" followed by the Company Name in business letters. For example:Billing : Room charges to M/S ICBC orAttn: M/S ABC HotelsCould anyone please explain what "M/S" means?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2013
  2. lablady

    lablady Senior Member

    Central California
    English - USA
    Hi son-nie,

    I have seen this when the company name includes the names of the owners/partners in the business, for example: M/S Smith, Jones and Brown Publishing Company. In this case, M/S is the abbreviation for Messrs., the plural of Mr. and is a form of salutation.

    Maybe someone else can tell us if this practice extends to instances when the company name does not include the names of the principal members of the firm.
  3. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    I have also seen the letters MS, sometimes with punctuation or other symbols, used to mean "mail stop", which is an internal address in a company or organization.
  4. If M/s is meant to be an abbreviation of Messrs (which in turn is an abbreviation of the French word Messieurs), then traditionally in BrE it was used to address the members of a business that was run as a partnership. Then for some reason it was extended to include corporate businesses. It is beginning to fall into disuse in Britain, but can still be seen quite often, although usually as Messrs and rarely as M/s.
  5. av11127 New Member

    The correct French abbreviation of Messieurs is MM (or, less frequently, Mrs), not Messrs. and not M/s. So my first question is, why is an incorrect abbreviation used in the first place?

    My second question is, is this usage of a "titre de civilité" in fact correct?
    It makes no sense to me to use the equivalent of Misters + company name. Saying for example "Misters ABC Engineering" makes no sense to me. A company is not a person, so why would it be addressed as such?

    I know English is not my first language, but I lived in the US for 16 years and never ever came accross this in business. Company names were referred to only by the company name.

    I will appreciate any explanation regarding this topic.
  6. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Welcome to the Forum, av! I just wanted to say that loanwords into English need not conform to the rules of the original language - in terms of spelling, plural form, pronunciation or meaning - but of course they can!

    The use of Messrs or M/s is now a bit dated (as Kevin Beach says in post 4). Lablady (post 2) explains the origin of the use: they were titles of men who were partners in a business.
  7. Bevj

    Bevj Allegra Moderata

    Girona, Spain
    English (U.K.)
    Remember that 'Messrs.' would be pronounced something like 'messers' which to the 'man in the street' would be more or less the equivalent of 'messieurs'.
    I imagine that this is the explanation which av11127 is looking for.

Share This Page