Writing Style – Ms.

BizWritingTip reader: “I was told that it is not correct to add a period after Ms as it isn’t a short form of a word as Mr. is for Mister. Is this correct?”

BizWritingTip response: Yes, Ms. is not actually a short form. It was coined by well-known author Germaine Greer and other feminists in the 1970s to match Mr. Their point was that men and women should be treated equally in the workforce. Mr. does not designate whether a man is married. Why treat a woman differently? People should be judged on how well they do their jobs, not on their marital status.

The Canadian Press style guide for CAPS AND SPELLING recommends a period with Ms. I believe it is because with the period it truly does look similar to Mr.

By the way, I just read on an Internet site that Ms. indicates a “divorcee or a woman past a certain age when the word Miss is too youthful.” Wrong!

According to the Oxford Canadian Dictionary, Ms. (with a period) is “a title prefixed to the name of a woman regardless of her marital status.”

Note: Some women do prefer the term “Mrs.” There is nothing wrong with that. Their wishes should be respected.

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