titles

titles
plural of title
present third singular of title

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This entry gives basic information about names and titles, and explains how you use them when talking or writing about people.
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You also use a person's name or title when you talk or write to them. For information on using names and titles when talking to someone, see entry at ↑ Addressing someone. For information on using names and titles when writing to someone, see entry at ↑ Letter writing.
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kinds of names
People in English-speaking countries have a first name, which is chosen by their parents, and a surname, which is the last name of their parents or one of their parents.
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Many people also have a middle name, which is also chosen by their parents. This name is not generally used in full, but the initial is sometimes given, especially in the United States.

...the assassination of John F Kennedy.

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Christians use the term Christian name to refer to the names they choose for their children. On official forms, the term first name or forename is used.
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In the past, married women always used their husband's surname. Nowadays, some women continue to use their own surname after getting married.
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short forms
People often use an informal and usually shorter form of someone's first name, especially in conversation. Many names have traditional short forms. For example, if someone's first name is `James', people may call him `Jim' or `Jimmy'.
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nicknames
Sometimes a person's friends invent a name for him or her, for example a name that describes them in some way, such as `Lofty' (meaning `tall'). This kind of name is called a nickname.
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People's names begin with a capital letter.

...John Bacon.

...Jenny.

...Smith.

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In names beginning with Mac, Mc, or O', the next letter is often a capital.

Elliott is the first athlete to be coached by McDonald.

...the author of the article, Mr Manus O'Riordan.

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In Britain, some people's surnames consist of two names joined by a hyphen or written separately.

...John Heath-Stubbs.

...Sir Patrick McNair-Wilson.

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Someone's initials are the capital letters that begin their first name, middle name, and surname, or just their first name and middle name. For example, if someone's full name is `Elizabeth Margaret White', you can say that her initials are `EMW', or that her surname is `White' and her initials are `EM'. Sometimes a dot is put after each initial: E.M.W.
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referring to someone
When you refer to someone, you use their first name if the person you are talking to knows who you mean.

John and I have discussed the situation.

Have you seen Sarah?

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If you need to make it clear who you are referring to, or do not know them well, you usually use both their first name and their surname.

If Matthew Davis is unsatisfactory, I shall try Sam Billings.

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You use their title and their surname if you do not know them as a friend and want to be polite. People also sometimes refer to people much older than themselves in this more polite way.

Mr Nichols can see you now.

We'd better not let Mrs Townsend know.

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Information on titles is given later in this entry.
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You do not generally use someone's title and full name in conversation. However, people are sometimes referred to in this way in broadcasting and formal writing.

An even more ambitious reading machine has been developed by Professor Jonathan Allen at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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In general, you only use someone's initials and surname in writing, not in conversation. However, some well-known people (especially writers) are known by their initials rather than their first name, for example `T.S. Eliot' and `J.G. Ballard'.
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You refer to famous writers, composers, and artists using just their surname.

...the works of Shakespeare.

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Other famous people are also sometimes referred to in this way. In Britain, men are more often referred to by their surnames than women.
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referring to relatives
Nouns such as `father', `mum', `grandpa', and `granny', which refer to your parents or grandparents, are also used as names.

Mum will be pleased.

You can stay with Grandma and Grandpa.

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referring to a family
You can refer to a family or a married couple with the same surname by using `the' and the plural form of that name.

...some friends of hers called the Hochstadts.

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using a determiner with names
When you use a person's name, you usually use it without a determiner. However, in formal or business situations, you can put `a' in front of someone's name when you do not know them or have not heard of them before.

You don't know a Mrs Burton-Cox, do you?

Just over two years ago, a Mr Peter Walker agreed to buy a house from a Mrs Dorothy Boyle.

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You can use a famous person's name with `another' in front of it to mean someone like that person.

He dreamed of becoming another Joseph Conrad.

What we need is another Churchill.

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You can check that someone actually means a well-known person, or simply express surprise, using `the' emphatically.

You actually met the George Harrison?

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titles
A person's title shows their social status or job.
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You use a person's title and surname, or their title, first name, and surname, as explained above. The titles that are most commonly used are `Mr' for a man, `Mrs' for a married woman, and `Miss' for an unmarried woman. Married women who have not taken their husband's surname are also sometimes called `Miss'. Some younger women prefer `Ms' to `Mrs' or `Miss', especially if they have married but not changed their surname.
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The following titles are also used in front of someone's surname, or first name and surname:
Ambassador, Archbishop, Archdeacon, Baron, Baroness, Bishop, Canon, Cardinal, Constable, Councillor, Doctor, Father, Governor, Inspector, Judge, Justice, Nurse, Police Constable, President, Professor, Rabbi, Superintendent, Viscount, Viscountess

Inspector Flint thinks I murdered her.

...representatives of President Anatolijs Gorbunovs of Latvia.

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Titles indicating rank in the armed forces, such as `Captain' and `Sergeant', are also used in front of someone's surname, or first name and surname.

General Haven-Hurst wanted to know what you planned to do.

...his nephew and heir, Colonel Richard Airey.

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The following titles are used in front of someone's first name alone:
Emperor, Empress, King, Pope, Prince, Princess, Queen, Saint

...Queen Elizabeth II.

...Saint Francis.

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`Emperor' and `Empress' usually have `the' in front of them.

...the Emperor Theodore.

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You can use the title `Sir' or `Dame' in front of a person's first name and surname or, when it is clear who you mean, in front of their first name alone.

...his successor, Sir Peter Middleton.

Sir Geoffrey was not consulted over these changes.

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You can use `Lord' and `Lady' in the same way when you are referring to someone who inherited their title and has high rank.

...the Queen's niece, Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones.

...Lady Diana's wedding dress.

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When you are using `Lord' or `Lady' to refer to someone who was given their title, you use it in front of the person's surname.

Lord Mackay has written to Judge Pickles seeking an explanation.

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When you are using `Lady' to refer to the wife of a knight, you use it in front of the person's surname.

Vita hated being Lady Nicolson.

...Sir John and Lady Mills.

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`Earl' and `Countess' are used in front of a person's surname.

...Earl Mountbatten of Burma.

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Titles are occasionally combined. For example, armed forces titles and `Professor' can be used in front of `Sir'. `Justice' is preceded by `Mr', `Mrs', or `Lord'.

...General Sir Ian Hamilton.

...Mr Justice Melford Stevenson.

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You can use `the' in front of a job title with no name after it, if it is clear who you mean.

...the Queen.

...the Prime Minister.

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titles of relatives
The only words which are generally used in modern English in front of names when referring to relatives are `Uncle', `Aunt', `Auntie', `Great Uncle', and `Great Aunt'. You use them in front of the person's first name.

...Aunt Jane.

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`Father' is used as the title of a priest, `Brother' as the title of a monk, and `Mother' or `Sister' as the title of a nun, but these words are not used in front of the names of relatives.
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titles before 'of'
A title can sometimes be followed by `of' to show what place, organization, or part of an organization the person with the title has authority over.

...the President of the United States.

...the Prince of Wales.

...the Bishop of Birmingham.

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The following titles can be used after `the' and in front of `of':
Archbishop, Bishop, Chief Constable, Countess, Dean, Duchess, Duke, Earl, Emperor, Empress, Governor, King, Marchioness, Marquis, Mayor, Mayoress, President, Prime Minister, Prince, Princess, Queen
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plurals of titles
You can use plurals of titles. However, they are rather formal, especially when used in front of a name rather than in front of `of'.

...the Presidents of Colombia, Venezuela and Panama.

...Presidents Carter and Thompson.

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There is no plural of `Ms'. People hardly ever use the plural of `Mrs'. `Messrs', the plural of `Mr', and `Misses', the plural of `Miss', are used only in very formal English or in humorous writing and speech. `Misses' is usually preceded by `the'.

...your solicitors, Messrs Levy and McRae.

The Misses Seeley had signed the petition.

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very formal titles
When you refer formally to someone important such as a king or queen, an ambassador, or a judge, you use a title consisting of a possessive determiner in front of a noun. For example, if you want to refer to the Queen, you can say `Her Majesty the Queen' or `Her Majesty'. The possessive determiner is usually spelled with a capital letter.

Her Majesty must do an enormous amount of travelling each year.

...Her Royal Highness, Princess Alexandra.

His Excellency is occupied.

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Useful english dictionary. 2012.

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