3

I'm searching for two words that adequately describe and differentiate between the following two categories/groups of words, given they exist in english:

  • Ms, Mr, Mrs, Miss etc.
  • Dr, Prof, Revd etc.

Background is that I have to store this data in a database for both english and non-english persons, with some non-english languages requiring words from both groups to be present at the same time (as opposed to english where i.e. you would use either Dr. or Mr., but not both of them together).

  • You should note that "The Reverend Mister x" is a correct construction, though it has one from both groups. – Mark Beadles Nov 24 '17 at 18:04
  • 1
    I'm giving this as a comment as it doesn't actually answer the question but is relevant to what you are doing.(1) You're incorrect that titles are not combined in English. It is more complex than that. For example if you have a doctorate and are ordained then the correct title is Reverend Dr, not merely Reverend or Dr, and a knighted Professor is Professor Sir. Whilst in medicine, high ranking surgeons typically drop the Dr and go by Mr. – Jack Aidley Nov 25 '17 at 10:26
  • 2
    (2) You cannot possibly know and implement the rules from all around the world. You are therefore best to give it as a free text field where anything can be entered. – Jack Aidley Nov 25 '17 at 10:27
  • 1
    (3) But, in any case, it is normal to use the rules for the country where someone is rather than the country where they are from in titles. In some cases, this is actually legally enforceable. – Jack Aidley Nov 25 '17 at 10:28
  • 1
    It's also possible to amass quite a number. "The Revd Prof Canon Sir Arthur Dent," for example. It wouldn't be easy to add "Dr" in there as well, though, so letters like DD would go after the name. – Andrew Leach Nov 25 '17 at 11:39
12

The relevant Wikipedia article about English honorifics calls the former group "common titles" and the latter "academic and professional titles".

| improve this answer | |
11

I'm not sure how well this will generalize to all the titles in your lists, but for the ones you listed you could call them "social titles" (or "courtesy titles") and "professional titles".

What’s a Social Title?

Social titles are the prefixes that go before people’s names (i.e. Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss).

[...]

Professional Titles

When it comes to social titles, rank matters. The professional title always trumps the social one, regardless of gender.

Invitations: Addressing Social Titles

Social titles are also called "courtesy titles", for example:

Courtesy Titles: Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms.
AP Style: Courtesy and Professional titles

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    For the ELL students, you may wish to make note that, when confused, a person's name works just fine. And in academic circles, using only the last name is common if not customary: Smith, et. al., report the chimpanzee ..." – Stu W Nov 24 '17 at 21:10
  • Courtesy title has a specific meaning amongst the British aristocracy, and it certainly doesn't refer to ordinary things like "Mr, Mrs..." – Andrew Leach Nov 25 '17 at 11:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.