Motunrayo Awomolo Written by Motunrayo Awomolo · 2 min read >

MS could be used as an acronym for different word expressions, it could mean Multiple Sum, it could mean Meter per Second or an application etc. Over time acronyms are used to shorten the meaning of multiple words and it is used as desired in formal and informal writing.

As we would be seeing in this write-up, the MS I will be talking about is the Ms. as it is used before the surname or full name of any woman regardless of her marital status. So many controversies over time in the usage of Ms. some school of thought says that it is used for a widow or an adult who has passed marriageable age though I am still asking myself what the “marriageable age” is. For instance, Ms Shogabde, Ms Ogabi; Ms Mercy Chims etc. the use of Ms. could be tricky as it could be a turn off for women who are married and appreciates being addressed as Mrs In this part of the world (Nigeria) that I come from, we are culture-based and our culture is very big on respect.

Our validation of respect begins with the way we address one another, especially someone older than you are. This is more prominent within the Yoruba culture of Nigeria.

Miss is used for a single lady, Mrs Is used for a married lady while Ms. is used to represent either Miss or Mrs. “Ms.” is a safe and appropriate choice in a situation when the status of the lady to be addressed is not given or is unknown. Officially, using Ms. before the name or surname is generally acceptable but I wish to share a clause with you, if you know the marital status of the lady, professional, cultural or religious title, it will be in your best interest to use either Mrs., Prof.; Dr., her majesty; or SAN as the case may be. You can never be wrong to err on the side of caution.

Let me share an experience with you on this subject matter. I had a dental appointment for my son and I was meant to be attended to by a dentist who I have never met before. Upon reaching the dental clinic, I spoke to the receptionist that I was there to see Mrs. Gbenro and I was told to have a sit that she stepped out just upon my arrival. After about 20 minutes of waiting, I approached the receptionist again as I was impatient and there she further asked what I wanted to see her for and I showed her the email I received from the clinic to see Dr. Gbenro apparently they have 2 Gbenro in the clinic both are women(smiles), Mrs. Gbenro and Dr. Gbenro; and it dawn on me that I had addressed the Oncologist wrongly which made me wait unnecessarily. The good news was that my slot was still opened for the appointment, and I was attended to by Dr. Gbenro. This is to say that it is always important to pay attention to details and not assume in a conventional way.

Someone asked me to pronounce Ms, I struggled for some minutes and still did not pronounce it correctly after all. For some of us who have the tendency of taking “little things” for granted, I would like to give you a tip, just say “maze” and you have done justice to the pronunciation. A big thanks to Mrs. Atinuke for this eye-opener.

Written by Motunrayo Awomolo
My name is Motunrayo Awomolo aka M.A. I am a chartered Human resource personnel with 11 years of work experience in various institutions ranging from NGO to Insurance and currently Banking where I work as a Human Resource personnel in a highly reputable organisation (Bank of Industry). Profile

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