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Using Personal Titles #2: Generic Titles (Men), by Dennis Oliver

 

Using Personal Titles #2:
Generic (General) Titles for Men

 

When you are speaking to a stranger or to someone who
has a position of authority, it's important to show respect
during your conversation. One way to do this is through
using personal titles as you speak.

In American English, there are two types of personal
titles: titles used with a name and titles used without
a name. Personal titles are generally used with someone
who is older than you or with someone who has a position
of authority. When you don't know the specific title to
use (that is, the title for someone with a particular job
or position), you can always use generic (general) titles.
Here are the ones most often used for men:

 

Personal Titles for Men:
Mr.

1.  

In general American English speech, Mr. is
used only with surnames (family names).
In some dialects, Mr. is also used with given
("first") names, but this is not "standard practice."

Standard practice:

Say "Mr. Jones," not "Mr. Bill."

Say "Mr. Vargas," not "Mr. Josť."

     
2.  

In the addresses of formal letters, Mr. can be
used with both a given name and a surname:

Mr. Josť Vargas
The XYZ Company
3333 Commerce Street
Someplace, GA

     
3.  

Mr. can also be used with full names when
you are making formal introductions:

It's my honor to introduce Mr. John O'Brien.

Ladies and gentleman, please welcome
Mr. Hyun-Seok Park.

     
4.   You can use Mr. for both married and
unmarried men, but do not use it for
young boys. (Use "Master" instead.)

 

Personal Titles for Men:
sir

1.  

Sir is often used to respond politely to something
a man says. Use sir without a name:

Yes, sir.

No, sir.

I really don't know, sir.

     
2.  

Sir can also be used in place of a name:

May I help you, sir?

Excuse me, sir. Could you help me?

Could you please repeat that, sir?

     
3.  

Do not use "mister" (Mr.) instead of sir.
It sounds abrupt and impolite to native
speakers of English.

Don't say

*May I help you, mister?

*Excuse me, mister. Could you help me?

*Could you please repeat that, mister?

Instead, say

May I help you, sir?

Excuse me, sir. Could you help me?

Could you please repeat that, sir?

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