HomeQ&AEquivalent to Ms?

Equivalent to Ms?

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Is there a Spanish equivalent the the English "Ms." as in "Dear Ms. Smith,"

If there is not an equivalent, which is preferred between Señora and Señorita when you don't know the marital status of a woman or she prefers not to have her status indicated by her prefix'

26525 views
updated ABR 7, 2009
posted by dave3

18 Answers

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On the topic of an equivalent for unmarried men, I vaguely recall from my youth (back when there were no remote controls but dinosaurs were no longer around) young men being addressed Master (or more often ''young master here...'', but still shortened to Mr) then 'becoming' Mr (Mister) with 'coming of age' (turning 18 these days). Did it use to be used about men until they married?

If there are any italians on this forum, could you confirm whatan old friend of mine told me of Italian titles for women, Senorita until you turn 18, Senora for over 18's regardless of civil status'

updated ABR 7, 2009
posted by Mz-Badger
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since Ms. is not an abbreviation of anything.

manuscript

There's always a comedian... tongue laugh

updated ABR 3, 2009
posted by 00bacfba
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since Ms. is not an abbreviation of anything.

manuscript

updated ABR 3, 2009
posted by samdie
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I do not agree with Lazarus' statement that Ms. = Sra., but James and samdie have already addressed that issue. Some more context for Spanish speakers reading this:

Ms. is used for both single and married women, often even if their marital status is known.

When I was a kid (in the semi-rural Midwest in the US), Ms. was often reserved for divorced women.

Ms. is generally considered to be more professional; it is what you will hear in the business world. Whether to use Ms. (rather than Miss or Mrs.) for one's self is a matter of personal choice.

If I am doubt about whether to address a lady by Miss, Ms., or Mrs., I always use Ms. as the safest choice.

Lazarus, Heidita, here's the scenario (in a fairly formal situation, as otherwise first names would probably be used):

Person 1 to Person 2: Let me introduce you: this is Mary Jones, from accounts receivable.
A while later:
Person 2 to Mary Jones: Ms. Jones, did you mean to leave your purse over there'

Which form of address would you use in Spain in this situation'

updated ABR 3, 2009
posted by Natasha
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Here is a quote from WR:

EN ESPAÿOL:

Mrs. es Señora.

Ms. no tiene equivalente en español. Equivale a un uso de Señorita en general.

The thread from which this is quoted is full of various errors, but this particular forero is quite trustworthy, and I believe he is correct here.

You'll get no argument from me. Before this thread your answer and mine would have conincided exactly. I'm just trying to understand what the two natives' answers meant. (and as far as using Miss rather than Mrs. to hazard a guess as to her status, that sounds more in line with the English (American) norm. Personally, if she's younger I guess Miss and wait for a correction if it's Mrs. and if she's older I guess Mrs. and wait for a correction if she single and I intone the title interrogatively just to seem more polite. Older women like being when you address them as if they are still young enough that you still need to inquire.

updated ABR 2, 2009
posted by 0074b507
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Well, Lazarus didn't really answer the question directly. He said:

Ms = Sra. (señora)
Miss = Srta. (señorita)

which is incomplete at best, since Mrs. = Sra. And Heidita said "in England this is the most used form," so she was apparently referring to the English Ms, since English people don't generally speak Spanish. She may have misunderstood what Nathaniel was saying.

But we'll just have to wait and see what they have to say for themselves.

Trivia: Both Mrs. and Miss come from the same word: mistress. That explains the R in Mrs. And although the norm is to use a period after Ms (Ms.) in the US, that is actually rather silly, since Ms. is not an abbreviation of anything.

updated ABR 2, 2009
posted by 00bacfba
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Here is a quote from WR:

EN ESPAÿOL:
Mrs. es Señora.
Ms. no tiene equivalente en español. Equivale a un uso de Señorita en general.

The thread from which this is quoted is full of various errors, but this particular forero is quite trustworthy, and I believe he is correct here.

updated ABR 2, 2009
posted by 00bacfba
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Pocket Oxford Spanish Dictionary © 2005 Oxford University Press:

Ms /m'z / || /m'z/ ? Sra. (tratamiento que se da a las mujeres y que no indica su estado civil)

Lazarus' reply (on the face of it) seems to suggest that "Sra." is (has become) the marital-status-neutral honorific in Spanish (thereby losing/compromising it's centuries old meaning of "the wife of Sr. Fulano).

That is the subtlety that I was trying to uncover. I saw it as either the situation that I postulated before where the abbreviation was ambiguous and the term señora was explicit or where the term señora was ambiguous. (see below) I wanted to know which we were talking about. To me, ONE possibility of what Lazarus and Heidita were describing was analogous to the following: (sorry, I'm an engineer and I understand pictures and symbolism better than words.

English

married=Mrs.
unknown=Ms.
single=miss

Spanish
married=señora
unknown=señora
single=miss

The crux of it all to me was as James pointed out they used the approximation sign rather than equals. To me, that meant something had to be ambiguous. In James' system there is no ambiguity. There are 3 equals with Ms=null.

As far as dropping the titles and just using names...language is an art; not a science...it won't happen until they tatoo the barcode on your forehead or give you the pill with the microchip inside.

updated ABR 2, 2009
posted by 0074b507
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Pocket Oxford Spanish Dictionary © 2005 Oxford University Press:

Ms /m'z / || /m'z/ ? Sra. (tratamiento que se da a las mujeres y que no indica su estado civil)
In the definition that you cited, is the parenthetical material meant to explain/apply to "Ms" or to "Sra."? If the former, I think we all know/understand that "Ms" is intended to be the marital-status-neutral title for a woman in English and the thrust of the original post was to ask if there is a similarly neutral form of salutation in Spanish. Lazarus' reply (on the face of it) seems to suggest that "Sra." is (has become) the marital-status-neutral honorific in Spanish (thereby losing/compromising it's centuries old meaning of "the wife of Sr. Fulano).

The answer that I would have liked to see would be something like "We understand that women should have equal rights but that does not mean that we are prepared to violate centuries of linguistic development/habits in order to accommodate the "newly discovered opinions/prejudices" that happen to be in fashion. A far more rational solution would, in my opinion, to abandon all use of Mr/Ms/Mrs/Sr/Srta/M/Mlle/Mme and simply use the person's name (without any honorific).

updated ABR 2, 2009
posted by samdie
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You have misunderstood me. This is what I am saying, to the best of my understanding.

Mrs. = Sra.

Miss = Srta.

Ms. = (no equivalent)

Note that in the quotation Heidita gave, the approximately equal sign is used.

Ms /m'z / || /m'z/ ? Sra. (tratamiento que se da a las mujeres y que no indica su estado civil)

Sorry, I don't wish to belabor the point, but approximation aside, what do you interpret the Ms.'Sra. as saying if there is no equivalent to Ms. in Spanish.
I suppose I should ask Lazarus or Heidita how they understood it since they entered it.

updated ABR 2, 2009
posted by 0074b507
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Ms /m'z / || /m'z/ ? Sra. (tratamiento que se da a las mujeres y que no indica su estado civil)

So, to answer the original question, there is no equivalent, and in Spanish you have to know or guess the status, just as English speakers had to do before Ms. became popular.

Sorry, I've been awake over 36 hours and I'm a little slower than usual.

I thought I understood Nathanial and misunderstood Lazarus and Heidita, but, James, I know that you've confused me.

I thought that we saying that an married woman or an unknown or undeclared woman both use the abbreviation Sra., but Sra. only means señora when it refers to a married woman. If it refers to an unknown or undeclared woman it means Ms?

Sra.= Mrs. or Ms.

= Ms. when referring to unknown status

= Señora when referring to a married woman

Then you're conclusion is that Sra. tell us nothing about the status of the woman. It's similar to Mr. in that respect.

Again, it's Sra. that is ambiguous, not Señora. Am I following the logic here'

updated ABR 2, 2009
posted by 0074b507
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You have misunderstood me. This is what I am saying, to the best of my understanding.

Mrs. = Sra.
Miss = Srta.
Ms. = (no equivalent)

Note that in the quotation Heidita gave, the approximately equal sign is used.

Ms /m'z / || /m'z/ ? Sra. (tratamiento que se da a las mujeres y que no indica su estado civil)

updated ABR 2, 2009
posted by 00bacfba
0
votes

Pocket Oxford Spanish Dictionary © 2005 Oxford University Press:

Ms /m'z / || /m'z/ ? Sra. (tratamiento que se da a las mujeres y que no indica su estado civil)

Anyway, Lazarus need not correct anything here. Nathan, in England this is the most used form cool smile

I think you are misunderstanding Nathaniel. He means that Mrs. (or Mrs without the period in the UK) is only used for married women, which equates to señora. Miss is used for unmarried women, which equates to señorita. However, to the best of my knowledge, there is no equivalent for Ms. (Ms), which only came into widespread use after WWII and which is used for both married and unmarried women. It has two purposes: it can be used when the marital status of a woman is unknown, and it makes women more equal with men, since no such distinction is made for men.

So, to answer the original question, there is no equivalent, and in Spanish you have to know or guess the status, just as English speakers had to do before Ms. became popular.

updated ABR 2, 2009
posted by 00bacfba
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HI Quen, on other forums you also get a longer editing time, only on ours it was just 15 minutes. People do edit their posts after being corrected by somebody, but normally they mention the correction then.

Pocket Oxford Spanish Dictionary © 2005 Oxford University Press:

Ms /m'z / || /m'z/ ? Sra. (tratamiento que se da a las mujeres y que no indica su estado civil)

Anyway, Lazarus need not correct anything here. Nathan, in England this is the most used form cool smile

updated ABR 2, 2009
posted by 00494d19
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Lazarus, I hate to ever disagree with you because you are right so much more frequently than I am. But, Señora is Mrs.

Now, I'm waiting to see the consequence of the new editing feature. Now that there is no time limit on editing if Lazarus corrects what I suspect was just a typo (he inserts a r making ms into mrs) no one will be able to understand why you posted your message. I think this is going to be confusing.
You should have quoted him so that his mistake would be in your post and it wouldn't be lost if he edits his mistake. Not that we wish to record mistakes, but to not have what will seem to be confusing, irrelevant posts.

updated ABR 2, 2009
posted by 0074b507
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