In the movie The Big Short, there is a scene where two people. Bruce Miller and Mark Baum are doing a "debate" of sorts. The host introduces them as

... give a generous welcome to mr. Bruce Miller and Mark Baum.

In her choice of words, does she imply some sort of antagonism toward Baum by not introducing him as mr. as well, or perhaps greater goodwill toward Miller?

My main question is does the sentence "Mr. X and Y" puts them on equal footing, or should it be more appropriate to say "Mr. X and Mr. Y" or perhaps to use the plural form "Misters X and Y"?

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    Traditionally, Messrs (from the French messieurs) was used as the plural of Mister, but that sounds rather old-fashioned today. I would expect her to prefix both names with Mr - or neither. Aug 3 at 19:56

1 Answer 1


The title is Mr. doesn't have a widely accepted plural. The Merriam-Webster prefers to use Messrs, but as @kate-bunting observes it seems stilted, and would be unusual given the laid-back tone of the film.

Without an accepted plural form you can't conclude from word choice alone that there is an implied antagonism between the two characters.

One could use prosody, though. If there were a pause before the word “and”, for example: saying Mr. Bruce Miller ... and Mark Baum would suggest that Mark Baum didn't deserve the honorific.
If I say I'd like to introduce my landlady (beat) and a few of my friends then you might conclude that I don't count my landlady among my friends.

  • 1
    The last sentence could do with explaining the "comic beat", I think: "If there were... then ..."
    – Andrew Leach
    Aug 10 at 13:57

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