Sir - Madam / Monsieur - Madame - Mademoiselle (abbreviations)

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by ruby22, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. ruby22 New Member

    I am currently in an email conversation with a French speaker who is using abbreviations for Sir and Madame – would someone please let me know what are the correct gender abbreviations?

  2. tchev

    tchev Senior Member

    Dublin, Ireland
    France, French
    M. = Monsieur : Sir / plural: MM. = Messieurs
    Mme = Madame : Madam / plural: Mmes = Mesdames
    Mlle = Mademoiselle : Miss / plural: Mlles = Mesdemoiselles

    Using madame instead of mademoiselle is not an offense.
    The abbreviations are not so much used in French. The non-abbreviated form is better in most cases.
    In particular, do not use the abbreviated form when addressing the person directly.
    Abbreviations are welcome when refering people not directly involved in the discussion.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 9, 2011
  3. Jabote Senior Member

    Mirabel, Quebec, Canada
    French from France
    And I will add that in French when you don't know whether the woman you are writing or talking to is married or not, you are supposed to call her Madame (guess this dates back to the times when a woman who was not married was considered a laissée pour compte, i.e. it was an insult just to think that maybe she was not married...). In English it is the opposite, you are supposed to say "Miss" when you don't know her marital status.[​IMG]

    And you are right Tchev, the French abbreviation for Monsieur is M. Mr. is the English abbreviation.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 9, 2011
  4. Psycher Senior Member

    Quebec City, Quebec
    Canada, French
    I was looking for the abbreviation of Mr. plural, and read this thread.

    I would like to add that according to wikipedia:

    , yes?
  5. hanbaked Senior Member

    English (UK)
    Just an add on to Jabote above - I don't like being called 'miss' and I've never married. Ms. is more often used these days (in Britain). It sounds like 'mz'.
  6. Peggy_star

    Peggy_star Senior Member

    Spanish / Caracas, Venezuela
    I thought we said 'Ms' in English for a woman whose marital status was unknown...

  7. hanbaked Senior Member

    English (UK)
    Less specific than that, Peggy_Star, you can use it for yourself when you don't want to be defined by marital status. It is very uncommon not to find Ms as an option on forms etc to fill in and now ms takes a preference over miss.
  8. fabien.i Member

    France, French
    In french Mr = Maitre = Master (i.e. for an atorney, etc.)
  9. Peggy_star

    Peggy_star Senior Member

    Spanish / Caracas, Venezuela
    So hanbaked you mean that when filling a form you can choose MISS, MRS or MS?
  10. hanbaked Senior Member

    English (UK)
    Yes, Peggy_star, that's right - the options for your title on forms are miss, mrs and ms.
  11. viera Senior Member

    Paris suburb
    The abbreviation for Maître is Me, not Mr.
  12. henrimolle New Member

    If one wanted to inquire about one's title on an English form, the box would say: "Title"...
    What would it say in French? "titre", "dénomination"?
  13. orlando09 Senior Member

    France, PACA
    English (England)
    This might at one time have been true, but I can't think of any case where it would be especially appropriate in modern usage. If talking very formally to a woman you don't know (especially if you are for example a waiter or receptionist), you would always say "Madam," unless it was a young girl or very young woman. And in writing, if you don't know the marital status, you say Ms, not Miss.
  14. orlando09 Senior Member

    France, PACA
    English (England)
    The reason for this British usage, as far as I was taught, is that the full stop indicates abbreviation, with the word left unfinished, whereas in Mr, for example, letters have been left out of the middle. By that logic, for example, Prof. Jones would be right, but Mr Jones.
  15. Dr. Baha'i Senior Member

    Athens, GA
    English - U.S.
    "Sir" is not really the equivalent of "Mr." "Sir John Jones" means something quite distinct from "Mr. John Jones," i.e. "Sir John" has been knighted by the queen or has inherited his title (though I'm not sure if knighthoods are heritable). Assuming that my father's name is John Jones, unless he's a doctor or a judge or a duke or something, you might write to "Mr. John Jones." To show him respect in person, you would call him "Mr. Jones" or "Sir," but not "Sir John" or "Sir Jones."

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