Does “Mr” Take a Period?
A recent DWT post about hyphen use (Chocolate covered or Chocolate-covered) prompted a discussion about the use of a period with the titles Mr. and Mrs. Here are some of the comments:
i was taught not to type a full stop after Mr and Mrs, but a few decades earlier that would have been incorrect.
[Responding to i was taught not to type a full stop after Mr and Mrs]
I was probably taught Mr. etc at school – can’t remember – but learning to type we were told not to use the full stop.
I’ve no way of knowing the location of these readers. Their experiences may be related to where they went to school.
Whether or not to place a period after Mr. and Mrs. depends upon whether you are following American or British usage.
In my American education I was taught to place a period after these abbreviations:
The rule is to place a period after each abbreviation…
Abbreviations of the following titles…are proper in any writing: Mr., Mrs., Messrs., Dr. –Walsh Handbook
In those bad old days, Miss was commonly used to address unmarried women. Although the title (like Mrs.) is a shortened form of “mistress,” no period was felt to be necessary: Dear Miss Jones…
According to British usage, if the abbreviation ends with the same letter as the word entire, no period is necessary:
If the abbreviation ends with a letter other than the one that ends the whole word, a period is called for:
French usage is similar:
The invented title Ms. has widely displaced Miss on both sides of the Atlantic. Ms conflates Miss and Mrs to provide a feminine form that, like Mr, does not indicate marital status.
British usage: Ms Jones
American usage: Ms. Jones
Although British usage makes more sense to me, I am careful to write the periods after Mr, Mrs, Ms and Dr on American correspondence.
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