0

I watched American TV shows all the time. Sometimes this kind of scene appeared.

A: Hi, can I meet Mr. Smith? B: It's Judge Smith

or

A: Mr. Smith, do you believe........ B: It's Doctor Smith

It also happened with people with military ranks. I found that people are offended with being called "Mister". Is it always the case in the real world?

9
  • Not offensive at all but if you are an MD and you are talking to a patient, you want to be addressed as Dr. X. If you are a General, and you're on duty, you want to be called Gerneral X, not Mr X.. – Centaurus Dec 14 '20 at 23:34
  • Of course, surgeons (at least in Britain) actually have the honorific title Mister, even if they have a "real" doctorate in surgery. – Andrew Leach Dec 14 '20 at 23:58
  • 1
    However, every person will be different. I'm not sure that this is anything actually to do with the English language, as the same question can be asked in any country and get the same answer: every person will be different. Some will mind, some will not. – Andrew Leach Dec 15 '20 at 0:00
  • @Andrew Leach - Isn't that only for consultants? P.S. What do they call female surgeons? – chasly - supports Monica Dec 15 '20 at 0:14
  • It's probably not a good idea to call that female police officer who's writing you a speeding ticket "mister". – Hot Licks Dec 15 '20 at 1:12
1

It is never offensive but it can be improper, especially when the person is a magistrate in the execution of their duties. When the person is a judge and you are trying to obtain an appointment with him/her the personnel whom you contact will usually abide by this rule and remind you that you should do so, although often in an implicit recommendation, such as a simple and mild correction of your unknowing "mister Smith" by a "judge Smith". You should always refer to them as "judge" when you mention them to other people in formal business; moreover, even when talking casually people often refer naturally to judges, generals and other persons in high positions by mentioning their function before their name. If the person is a doctor, even while in their practice, they will not insist on being addressed to as "doctor" but it is an enduring custom to do so and if you do not offend them by calling them "Mister", you might displease some of them.

1
  • +1 for wise advice. – Centaurus Dec 15 '20 at 0:20

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