Correct forms of address

Let us say, speaking speculatively, that the Earl of Withington (who is also Viscount Munthorpe and has the family name of Grisham) is coming over to your place for beer and poker night Tuesday next. You grab the nearest Mont Blanc pen and your best cotton bond stationery to begin an invitation… but how to address him? Correct Forms of Address is the site for you. You might have dashed yourself upon the rocks of social self-destruction by referring to The Right Honble. The Earl of Withington as simply “The Honble. Earl of Withington” or “My Dear Viscount” or, heaven forbid, “My Main Man Earl.”

Cruise around this helpful site long enough and you will soon be deciphering jawbreakers like this.

He was the Most Noble Adolphus Gillespie Vernon Ware, Duke of Sale and Marquis of Ormesby; Earl of Sale; Baron Ware of Thame; Baron Ware of Stoven; and Baron Ware of Rufford…

I love jargon, and I especially love the patient, helpful people who enjoy explaining it. Nevertheless, when you come across a site like this, you’d like to think that it is actively maintained by an impeccably dressed Englishwoman, not a Trekkie lawyer who lives with her parents in Sour Lake, Texas (that’s her, first row, third from the left). Then again, fascination with form tends to congregate at the edges of the empire.

4 thoughts on “Correct forms of address”

  1. Do you know any sites that provide the proper way to address military personnel (both written and verbal)? I am married to a CAPT and I still get it wrong.

  2. Dear The Right The Honorable The Mrs. Sir CAPT:

    Can’t your husband tell you the right thing to say? If he can’t, then maybe it doesn’t really matter. I was ALMOST a Captain in the Air Force (I had a The Right The Honorable Discharge as a 1ST LT), but I never really ran into too many etiquette problems.

    Nevertheless, here are two pages that Google tells me you might be interested in.

    http://www.airforcewives.com/protocol/ch07.html

    http://www.chadduck.com/ymarines/protocol/forms_of_address.htm

  3. This website from the Marines Wives about protocol and the forms of address was most helpful. I do calligraphy and this was the first time I had addresses where both him and her were Lt. Colonels. Thanks so much for the instruction.
    Sincerely,
    Linda Key

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