Forms of Address

Forms of Address

The information contained herein is quoted from Social Usage and Protocol Handbook: A Guide for Personnel of the U.S. Navy (OPNAVINST 1710.7 dated 17 JUL 1979)

The following diagrams listed alphabetically indicate the title and forms of address for certain distinguished Americans and foreigners and are offered as a ready reference for those whose offkial duties may involve them in written or oral exchange with these persons.

In addition, the following general rules apply:
"His/Her Excellency" is used in addressing a foreign ambassador. It is written out on the line above the name, and a little to the left. Occasionally, it is abbreviated as "H.E." just before the name, but this format is less acceptable.
"The Honorable" is used in addressing American ambassadors and other high officials of the government as indicated in the following list. Once an individual receives this title, he/she retains it despite retirement from the position.
"The Honorable" is written out in full, on the line above the individual's name and a little to the left. Although occasionally it is abbreviated as "The Hon." or "Hon. " in business letters, it is not preferred American social usage.
When inviting a married woman because of her position, it is appropriate to mention her name and/or title first, followed by her husband. That is, the American Ambassador and Mr. Doe. Conversely, if the invitation is extended because of his official position, use his title and/or name first, followed by hers:
The Honorable . . .. The Secretary of Defense and Mrs. Smith.
There may be occasions in which it is desirable to use both individuals' titles but in general, this is cumbersome.
Married Military Woman. When a married servicewoman is invited in her official capacity to an event, invitation should indicate her rank:
If her husband is a civilian:
Commander Maureen Therese Green and Mr. Green
If her husband is also in the military:
Commander Elizabeth Eileen Smith
Captain Timothy Daniel Smith
If, however, the invitation is being sent because of the husband's official position, the invitation should read:
Captain Thomas Francis Jones
and Captain Shawn Claire Jones
or
Captain and Mrs. Thomas Jones

Other Forms of Address

A Navy chaplain is always addressed verbally as "Chaplain":
Chaplain Ray Burt or Chaplain Burt

In writing or in formal announcement, he/she is addressed as:

Chaplain Ray Burt Captain,
U.S. Navy
(Title, if any)
Dear Chaplain Burt,

A Navy dentist or doctor is addressed verbally as Doctor up to and including the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He/she is addressed by rank from Commander and above. In all cases, the rank is used in writing.

Midshipman is a rank and therefore used for both males and females:
Midshipman Brian Richard Smith.
Midshipman Shawn Clair Taylor.

Introductions

There are three basic rules to remember when introducing two individuals:

  1. A man is introduced to a woman.
  2. A younger adult is introduced to an older adult of the same sex.
  3. An officer of lower rank is introduced to one of higher.

In general most introductions go wrong when an individual is too wordy. The following formats are best:

"Mrs. Smith - Mr. Jones" (directed to Mrs. Smith)
"General Smith - Captain White" (directed to General Smith)
"This is Admiral Jones" spoken to Mrs. Smith, then to the Admiral, "Mrs. Smith"

When formal introductions are necessary (high church, military, or government officials, royalty, or guest speaker) the following is appropriate:

"Mrs. White, I have the honor to present Mr. Smith"
"Admiral Jones, may I present Ensign Doe"

AMERICAN DIGNITARIES

(For simplicity, the male gender is used throughout. When the official is a woman, change those parts which are italicized (first names, Madam for Mister when preceding a title, and Mister for Mrs. when referred to a spouse).

PositionEnvelopeInvitation
Names should be positioned on the invitation precisely as shown in this column

Ambassador of the United States (on leave or The Honorable retired)
OFFICIAL
John Ryan
SOCIAL
The Honorable John Ryan and Mrs. Ryan
Mr. and Mrs. Ryan
It should be noted that while the invitation, salutation, and conversation forms indicated for retired ambassadors are correct, it is common practice when dealing with a notable, retired, career ambassador of many years service to use "Ambassador and Mrs. Ryan" on the imitation, "Dear Mr. Ambassador" in salutation, and "Mr. Ambassador" jn conversation.

Ambassador of the United States (on post)OFFICIAL
The Honorable Ryan Goodwin
Anerican Ambassador
SOCIAL
The American Ambassador and Mrs. Ryan
The American Ambassador
    and Mrs. Ryan

Ambassador of the United States (woman)OFFICIAL
The Honorable Marie Ryan
SOCIAL
The American Ambassador and Mr. Ryan
The American Ambassador
     and Mr. Ryan

Ambassador of the United States (with military rank)OFFICIAL
Admiral John Jays Ryan
SOCIAL
The American Ambassador and Mrs. Ryan
The American Ambassador
     and Mrs. Ryan
"The Honorable" is not used if an American military officer retains his military title when serving as ambassador or minister.

Assistant to the PresidentOFFICIAL
The Honorable Thad Ryan
Assistant to the President
SOCIAL
The Honorable Thad Ryan and Mrs. Ryan
Mr. and Mrs. Ryan

Place CardSalutationComplimentary
close
Conversation
Mr. Ryan
Mrs. Ryan
Dear Mr. Ryan:Sincerely yours,Mr. Ryan
Mrs. Ryan

The American Ambassador
Mrs. Ryan
Dear Mr. Ambassador:Sincerely yours,Mr. Ambassador
Mrs. Ryan

The American Ambassador
Mr. Ryan
Dear Madam Ambassador:Sincerely yours,Madam Ambassador
Mr. Ryan

The American Ambassador
Mrs. Ryan
Dear Mr. Ambassador:
Dear Admiral Ryan:
Sincerely yours,Mr. Ambassador or
Admiral Ryan
Mrs. Ryan

Mr. Ryan
Mrs. Ryan
Dear Mr. Ryan:Sincerely yours,Mr. Ryan
Mrs. Ryan


INTRODUCTION

in conversation announced as

“Ambassador John Ryan”“The Honorable John Ryan,
Ambassador of the United States”
or
“The Honorable John Ryan,
Former Arnbasaador of the United States”

“Ambassador John Ryan”“The Honorable John Ryan,
Ambassador of the United States”

“Ambassador Mane Ryan”‘The Honorable Marie Ryan,
Ambassador of the United States”

“Ambassador John Ryan”“Admiral John Ryan,
Ambassador of the United States”

“Mr. Thad Ryan”“The Honorable Thad Ryan,
Asistant to the Resident for. . .“

Additional Forms of address can be found in OPNAVINST 1710.7 There are a total of 30 separate pages on the different forms of addressing.

INITIALS OF BRITISH HONORS, DECORATIONS, AND MEDALS

The initials of various distinctions are placed after the surname whenever the individual’s name appears alone and on envelopes, and in the address section of a letter. They rank as follows: Orders of knighthood, decorations, medals, civil distinctions, academic degrees, fellowship in royal societies, and membership in religious orders.

It is customary to put only two abbreviations after a name, using the two differing honors highest in rank for this purpose and adding “etc .“, if the addressee has more than two. The abbreviations are in capital letters, the last of which is followed by a period, as Admiral Sir Peter Ryan, KBE., CB., DSO.

ORDERS OF KNIGHTHOOD ACCORDING TO PRECEDENCE

The eight leading orders of knighthood - the Garter, the Thistle, St. Patrick, the Bath, the Star of India, St. Michael and St. George, the Indian Empire, and the Royal Victorian Order rank as follows:

KG.Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter
KT.Knight of the Order of the Thistle
KP.Knight Companion of the Order of St. Patrick
GCB.Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
OM. Member of the Order of Merit
GCSI.Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India
GCMG. Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George
GCIE.Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire
GCVO.Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
GBE.Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire
KCB.Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
KCSI.Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India
KCMG.Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George
KCIE.Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire
KCVO.Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
KBE.Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
CB.Companion of the Order of the Bath
CSI.Companion of the Order of the Star of India
CMG.Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George
CIE.Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire
CVO.Companion of the Royal Victorian Order
CBE.Commander of the Order of the British Empire
DSO.Companion of the Distinguished Sewice Order
MVO.Member (4th Class) of the Royal Victorian Order
OBE.Officer of the Order of the British Empire
ISO.Companion of the Imperial Service Order
MVOMember (5th Class) of the Royal Victorian Order
MBE.Member of the Order of the British Empire


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