Difference Between Miss and Ms (With Table)

Adding a title to a name is a form of respect. It qualifies identity, esteem, and a sense of self-value. There are specific rules that dictate the usage of titles before the names. Knowledge about the formal titles can bring etiquettes while addressing someone. The two most common formal titles used for women are Miss and Ms.

Miss vs Ms

The main difference between Miss and Ms is that Miss is a formal title used to address young girls or women who are under the age of thirty and particularly unmarried while Ms is usually used as a formal title of respect for young as well as older women who are above the age of eighteen. Miss can be solely used for unmarried women.

Miss is added as a polite and respectful form of addressing. Miss is only used for unmarried women. Miss should be used only in cases where there is no doubt or dilemma about the marital status of the woman.

On the other hand, Ms can be used for all women. Ms is considered the appropriate title to be used professionally because of its neutral nature. It has no association with marital status. Ms can be used for both married and unmarried women.

Comparison Table Between Miss and Ms

Parameters of ComparisonMissMs
Age group The title can be used for young girls or women The title can be used for young as well as older women
Usage The title can be solely used for unmarried women The title can be used for all women
Significance Signifies that the woman is unmarried Does not signify any marital status of the woman
Professional title Miss is considered less professional as it is related to the marital status Ms is considered the appropriate title to be used professionally because of its neutral nature
Pronunciation Pronunciation of the term Miss is “Mis” Pronunciation of the term Ms is “Miz”

Who is Miss?

Miss is a formal title used to address young girls or women who are under the age of thirty and particularly unmarried. Miss has been the formal title for the longest time. Example – “Excuse me, Miss. You have dropped your pen”, “I have received my books, thank you Miss” or “We have invited Miss Joe to the party tomorrow”.

Traditionally the term miss was used for women who were in positions or power of authority. Professions like teachers or supervisors were addressed with Miss. Calling just by the first name would sound like disrespect and thus, Miss was added as a polite and respectful form of addressing.

Miss can be used all by itself especially during a term of address or can be combined with the name, during the description of a prominent characteristic or criteria that is represented by some person. In the contemporary world, miss is an appropriate formal title, especially for young women.

The recent standards of associating Miss refers to no indulgence of marital status during addressing. Some people associate the title Miss with affection. Some regions even associate miss as a prelude to chastisement while referring to young children. An example of such would be – “Clean your room Miss, before the party begins”.

Who is Ms?

Ms is usually used as a formal title of respect for women who are above the age of 18. Ms is an appropriate title to be used before women whose marital status is unsure. The title signifies a neutral marital status. The formal title was first used in the 1950s. It gained prominence during the movement of Women in the 1970s.

Ms is the title that can be used even in a state of confusion or dilemma regarding the marital status of the woman. The title has gained popularity, especially among the feminist society. It is considered as a female equivalent of the formal title “Mr” or “mister”. It signifies respect that is not associated with marital status. Ms is pronounced as “Miz”.

It is ideally used in places where confusion or dilemma about the marital status of the person continues. Many women consider Ms as the highest form of respect that does not indulge with the marital status and promotes equality. Ms can be used by itself as a form of address or can be paired with the name of the person.

Professionally, Ms is an ideal way to address a person. However, newspapers and magazines often avoid mistakes in titles by omitting them and referring people by their full names. Example sentences of Ms – “It was lovely to meet you, Ms. Richard”.

Main Differences Between Miss and Ms

  1. Miss is generally used to address young women while Ms is used for younger as well as older women.
  2. Miss signifies the unmarried marital status of the women while Ms signifies a neutral marital status.
  3. Miss is a formal title that may not be safe in case of doubt in the marital status while Ms is a formal title which is the safest in case of any doubt.
  4. Miss has an association with marital status while Ms has no association with marital status.
  5. Miss is only used for unmarried women while Ms can be used for both married and unmarried women.

Conclusion

Knowledge about the differences between the formal titles used for women helps in better communication and addressing. Though both the formal titles seem similar and confusing they are not interchangeable terms. Many women have a preference for the formal title and usage of a wrong title can even be offensive in several contexts.

Miss and Ms are both formal terms used to refer to women. Both of the formal terms are used as a form of respect and affection. The former has an association with marital status while the latter has no such association with marital status and is neutral. Both the formal titles are extensively used from ages and portray different emotions depending upon the context of usage.

References

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00287454
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1471-6402.00101
  3. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1990-57170-001
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