I'm not sure it fits in this StackExchange site but here's the question:

Can a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) use the title "sir" or "dame" before their name?

Wikipedia states:

The senior two ranks of Knight or Dame Grand Cross, and Knight or Dame Commander, entitle their members to use the title of Sir for men and Dame for women before their forename.

This would suggest that a CBE cannot use the title because it is reserved for GBE and KBE/DBE only. However in Wikipedia articles regarding for example Elton John, David Attenborough and Anthony Hopkins you can see all of them being CBE but titled "sir". On the other hand Benedict Cumberbatch is also a CBE but it isn't titled "sir" in his Wikipedia article.

What is the rule here?

  • 3
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is about the English Honours system, not the English Language. – AndyT Aug 8 '19 at 9:18
  • 1
    If you read the Wikipedia article, you will see that Elton John was knighted a couple of years after he was made a CBE. I imagine that applies for the others, as well. – Mick Aug 8 '19 at 10:08
  • It even states in your linked Wikipedia article that Anthony Hopkins was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the arts – Smock Aug 8 '19 at 10:10
  • Thank you. I understand now that the Order and Knighthood are separate things. I agree with @AndyT, this can be closed as off-topic. – Kuba Szymanowski Aug 8 '19 at 10:45

No, one does not put a title before one's name, but letters afterwards.

If I were the holder of that prestigious appointment, I would use W. Vane CBE.

Moreover, it is for others to use a title, not me.
So I introduce myself, or sign off, as W. Vane, not Mr W. Vane.

But anyway, a CBE holder is not entitled to be called a Sir or a Dame.

Sir Elton John is called thus, because he has also been made a Knight Bachelor.

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