"Sir", "Ma'am", "Mr.", "Miss" --- Capitalization?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Lun-14, Aug 8, 2016.

  1. Lun-14

    Lun-14 Senior Member

    Good morning Teachers,

    Need I capitalize "Sir", "Ma'am", "Mr.", "Miss" in the phrases/sentences like these:

    Thank you very much Sir/Ma'am/Mr. Nikhel/Miss Ankita.
    You are damn right Sir/Ma'am/Mr. Nikhel/Miss Ankita
    I like your idea very much Sir/Ma'am/Mr. Nikhel/Miss Ankita.

    I am asking this because I have seen many people not capitalize "Sir", "Ma'am" in the above phrase/sentences.

    Thank you.
  2. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    As a polite form of address to a superior, "sir" is not capitalised:
    Thank you very much, sir/ma'am
    You are damn right, sir/ma'am.
    I like your idea very much, sir/ma'am.

    But as a title "Sir" (and "Lady") is always capitalised, as are Mr., Mrs., and Miss (and Ms)
    "I wish you were as rich as Sir Paul Q/Lady Thorpe."
    "I wish you were as rich as Mr. Nikhel/Miss Ankita/Mrs. Patel/Miss Eyre/Ms Blackwell."
  3. Lun-14

    Lun-14 Senior Member

    Thank you so much PaulQ:)

    I have one more question:

    Is comma (marked in blue) necessary here, i.e, without comma, doesn't it sound idiomatic? ->
  4. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    Yes, there's usually a comma there, except in very short groups such as 'yes sir' and 'no sir', where it's not needed.
  5. Englishmypassion

    Englishmypassion Senior Member

    India - Hindi
    But I think it's Yes, sir/No, sir. No?

  6. Barque Senior Member

    As an aside, Nikhil/Nikhel/Ankita are commonly used as first/given names. "Mr." and "Ms." aren't usually used with just first names.
  7. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I'd add that as sir or ma'am or Mr Jones or Mrs Jones are vocatives (terms of address), it is conventional to set them off with commas. Current British style also does not use the full stop in Mr, Mrs, Ms, Dr etc.

    Paul is right that vocatives are not capitalised unless they are names. You'd similarly write: 'How are you, love?', 'How are you, my dear?', 'How are you, mate?' The tricky bit is that some special vocatives are conventionally capitalised, as they function as name substitutes: 'Pleased to meet you, Your Majesty', 'Pleased to meet you, Your Royal Highness', 'Pleased to meet you, Your Grace'.
  8. djmc Senior Member

    English - United Kingdom
    Except in the army, or at school, I wouldn't expect to hear expressions such as "Yes sir", "No miss" or suchlike. They sound much too heirarchical. Another point (which the French often miss) is that one would refer to a man as Sir Fred Bloggs, and address him as Sir Fred. One doesn't use Sir Bloggs.

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