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Re: You have a word for it?

From:Dennis Paul Himes <himes@...>
Date:Tuesday, January 29, 2002, 2:36
Roger Mills <romilly@...> wrote:
> Padraic Brown wrote: > > >Am 27.01.02, Fabian yscrifef: > > > >> > > >Yehy is the masculine counterpart of Miss -- the title for an > >> > > >unmarried man. > > > >> > > We NEEEEEED this word in English. Honestly. > > > >> > I disagree. I think we need to ditch the distinction between married > >> > woman and unmarried woman. > >> > >> Back about 150 years ago, the common word for this was 'master', and > >> exactl;y equivalent to 'miss'. > > > >Mister is just a weakened form of Master; as Missus is a > >weakened form of Mistress. I use Miss and Mister regardless. > > > >Master was also in fairly common use much more recently. When > >I was little, older relatives addressed cards and such with > >"Master". I've never used it for anyone. > > Tristan's "150 years ago" prompted me to think, ah yes, when I was a wee > one. > Nice to see someone else in the same category. :-) > > I think Ms. for adult women of unknown marital status is quite useful. I > don't feel that Mr. implies a married man; it's also true that we shouldn't > be concerned about it in either case, but..... Obviously, a language needs > some polite way to address strangers.
It seems in reading this discussion that people are assuming that "Miss" means a woman is not married and "Mrs." means that she is. This is a convention which some people use, but it is not the convention I was taught and was not the prescriptivist convention used by (for instance) the New York Times back before it belatedly adopted "Ms." The convention I learned is that "Mrs." is used for a woman who is using a husband's surname, and "Miss" is used otherwise. So a divorced woman who kept her married name would be "Mrs.", and a married woman who kept her maiden name would be "Miss". =========================================================================== Dennis Paul Himes <> Gladilatian page: Disclaimer: "True, I talk of dreams; which are the children of an idle brain, begot of nothing but vain fantasy; which is as thin of substance as the air." - Romeo & Juliet, Act I Scene iv Verse 96-99


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