This section provides the correct forms of address for U.S. Public officials, diplomats, religious leaders, royalty, the British peerage, and military personnel. For each personage the chart gives the appropriate form or forms to be used in addressing letters, in letter salutations, in direct conversation, and in more formal introductions.
In diplomatic and other public circles, "Sir" is generally considered an acceptable alternative to the formal address in both written and spoken greetings; this does not apply to religious or titled persons. The use of "Madam" or "Ma'am" for a female addressee is less customary but still acceptable, especially for high officeholders ("Madam Governor"). This rule also holds for high officials of foreign countries.
For greetings in which "Mr." is used, the feminine equivalent may be "Madam" or, less formally, "Mrs.," "Miss," or "Ms." Although there is no formal rule for the use of "Ms.," the preference of the addressee should be respected.
|President of the United States|| ||Dear Mr. (or Madam) President||Mr. (or Madam) President||The President or the President of the United States|
|Former President|| ||Dear Mr. (Mrs., Ms.) Jones||Mr. (or Mrs., Ms.) Jones||The Honorable John J. Jones|
|Vice President|| ||Dear Mr. (or Madam) Vice President||Mr. (or Madam) Vice President||The Vice President or the Vice President of the United States|
|Cabinet members|| ||Dear Mr. (or Madam) Secretary||Mr. (or Madam) Secretary||The Secretary of _________________|
|Chief Justice|| ||Dear Mr. (or Madam) Justice or Dear Mr. (or Madam) Chief Justice||Mr. (or Madam) Chief Justice||The Chief Justice|
|Associate Justice|| ||Dear Mr. (or Madam) Justice||Mr. Justice or Mr. Justice Jones; Madam Justice or Madam Justice Jones||Mr. Justice Jones; Madam Justice Jones|
| || ||Dear Senator Jones||Senator Jones||Senator Jones from Nebraska|
|Speaker of the House|| ||Dear Mr. (or Madam) Speaker||Mr. Speaker; Madam Speaker||The Speaker of the House of Representatives|
|United States Representative|| ||Dear Mr. (or Mrs., Ms.) Jones||Mr. (or Mrs., Ms.) Jones||Representative Jones from New Jersey|
|United Nations Ambassador|| ||Dear Mr. (or Madam) Ambassador||The United States Ambassador to the United Nations|
|Ambassador|| ||Dear Mr. (or Madam) Ambassador||Mr. (or Madam) Ambassador|| |
|Consul-General|| ||Dear Mr. (or Mrs., Ms.) Jones||Mr. (or Mrs., Ms.) Jones||Mr. (or Mrs., Ms.) Jones|
|Foreign Ambassador|| ||Excellency or Dear Mr. (or Madam) Ambassador||Excellency; or Mr. (or Madam) Ambassador|| |
|Secretary-General of the United Nations|| ||Dear Mr.(or Madam) Secretary-General||Mr. (or Madam) Secretary-General||The Secretary-General of the United Nations|
|Governor|| ||Dear Governor Jones||Governor or Governor Jones||The Governor of Maine: Governor Jones of Maine|
|State legislators|| ||Dear Mr. (Or Mrs. , Ms.) Jones||Mr. (Or Mrs., Ms.) Jones||Mr. (Or Mrs., Ms.) Jones|
|Judges|| ||Dear Judge Jones||Justice or Judge Jones; Madam Justice or Judge Jones||The Honorable John (or Jane) Jones; Mr. Justice Jones or Judge Jones; Madam Justice Jones or Judge Jones|
|Mayor|| ||Dear Mayor Jones||Mayor Jones; Mr. (Or Madam) Mayor; Your Honor||Mayor Jones; The Mayor|
|The Pope|| ||Your Holiness or Most Holy Father||Your Holiness or Most Holy Father||His Holiness, the Holy Father; the Pope; the Pontiff|
|Cardinals|| ||Your Eminence of Dear Cardinal Jones||Your Eminence or Cardinal Jones||His Eminence, Cardinal Jones|
|Bishops|| ||Your Excellency or Dear Bishop (Archbishop) Jones||Your Excellency or Bishop (Archbishop) Jones|
|Monsignor|| ||Reverend Monsignor or Dear Monsignor||Monsignor Harding or Monsignor||Monsignor Harding|
|Priest|| ||Reverend Father or Dear Father Jones||Father or Father Jones||Father Jones|
|Brother|| ||Dear Brother John or Dear Brother||Brother John or Brother||Brother John|
|Sister||Sister Mary Marshall|| ||Sister Mary Marshall or Sister||Sister Mary Marshall|
|Protestant Clergy||The Reverend John (or Jane) Jones*||Dear Dr. (or Mr., Ms.) Jones||Dr. (or Mr., Ms.) Jones||The Reverend (or Dr.) John Jones|
|Bishop (Episcopal)|| ||Dear Bishop Jones||Bishop Jones||The Right Reverend John Jones, Bishop of Detroit|
|Rabbi|| ||Dear Rabbi Schwartz||Rabbi Schwartz or Rabbi||Rabbi Arthur Schwartz|
|King or Queen|| ||Your Majesty; Sir or Madam||Varies depending on titles, holdings, etc.|
|Other royalty|| ||Your Royal Highness||Your Royal Highness; Sir or Madam||His (Her) Royal Highness, the Duke (Duchess) of Gloucester|
|Duke/Duchess|| ||My Lord Duke/ Madam or Dear Duke of ____________/Dear Duchess||Your Grace or Duke/Duchess||His/Her Grace, the Duke/Duchess of Bridgeport|
|Marquess/Marchioness|| || ||Lord/Lady Bridgeport||Lord/Lady Bridgeport|
|Earl||The Right Honorable the Earl of Franklin|| ||Lord Franklin||Lord Franklin|
|Countess (wife of an earl)|| ||Madam or Dear Lady Franklin||Lady Franklin||Lady Franklin|
|Viscount/Viscountess||The Right Honorable the V _____________ Tyburn||My Lord/Lady or Dear Lord/Lady Tyburn||Lord/Lady Tyburn||Lord/Lady Tyburn|
|Baron/Baroness||The Right Honorable Lord/Lady Austin|| ||Lord/Lady Austin||Lord/Lady Austin|
|Baronet||Sir John Jones, Bt.||Dear Sir or Dear Sir John||Sir John||Sir John Jones|
|Wife of Baronet||Lady Jones|| ||Lady Jones||Lady Jones|
|Knight||Sir John Jones||Dear Sir or Dear Sir John||Sir John||Sir John Jones|
|Wife of knight|| ||Lady Jones||Lady Jones|
|Military Personnel||For commissioned officers in the U.S. Armed services, the full rank is used as a title only in addressing letters and in formal introductions: one writes to Major General Sarah Miller, U.S. Army, and introduces her as Major General Miller. In greetings the full rank is shortened to General: "Dear General Miller." Similar acceptable shortened greetings follow categorized by full rank then greetings :|
|Army, Air Force, Marines|| || |
|Navy, Coast Guard|| || |
For enlisted personnel, a similar principle applies. Sergeants -- whether staff sergeants, gunnery sergeants, or first sergeants -- are greeted simply as "Sergeant"; privates first class are referred to as "Private"; and, in the Navy and Coast Guard, chief petty officers are referred to as "Chief." Other noncommissioned officers are greeted by their ranks, although, informally, lower grades may be referred to generically as "Soldier" or "Sailor."
The universal terms of respect that lower ranks must use when addressing senior officers are "Sir" and "Madam." These terms are not applied to noncommissioned officers, however; the appropriate affirmative response to a sergeant, for example, is "Yes, Sergeant."
*If the cleric holds a doctorate in divinity, it is customary to add the designation D.D. after his or her name in the letter address.