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2.4 Honorific, Titles and Addresses

An honorific is a respectful form of address. In English, many honorifics are gendered: Mr. indicates a man, Miss indicates an unmarried, Mrs. a married woman. At the beginning of the 20th century, a new honorific Ms. was introduced, the one that didn't imply the marital status of a woman. Currently, some use the title Mx. (pronounced mix), if they don't identify with the female or male gender or simply don't want to be referred to by a gendered honorific.

But it's not only honorifics that pose a problem for gender sensitivity. Every time we address a group of people, a question occurs as to what to call them. Commonly used Ladies and gentlemen, as well as informal Hey guys or Boys and girls, are not inclusive. Here is a non-exhaustive list of words that gender-marked addresses can be replaced with: folks, friends, colleagues, guests, collaborators, people, partners, associates, all assembled, team, everyone, everybody.


dear all or to whom it may concern instead of Dear Madame/Sir.