Ms, Miss, Mrs? What's the Difference?

Ms, Miss, Mrs? What’s the Difference?

Miss, Ms., and Mrs. are three words that get mixed up more than just about any other words in the English language. It seems that no one quite understands what the difference is between these or what they even truly are.

If you address someone using the wrong title, you can seriously offend them. It is extremely important to make sure you have a solid understanding of these titles before you interact with someone and potentially offend them.

Miss is used to describe a female child or an unmarried woman. Mrs. is the proper title of respect for women that are married or widowed. Ms. is different than Miss and Mrs. because it doesn’t refer to marital status. This makes Ms. the perfect option if you aren’t aware of which title to use.

Should I Use Miss or Ms.?

Miss is used to address females that are young and unmarried. This typically refers to women and girls under the age of thirty, as older women usually prefer to go by Ms. If you are unsure of their current marital status, it is going to be best to use Ms. This is the best way to avoid offending someone by accident.

Miss vs. Mrs.

Miss and Mrs. are opposites. Miss is used to refer to a young female that is not married. Mrs. is used to refer to a female that is married. This can be tricky because several females are starting to keep their maiden name after they get married, but they are still referred to as Mrs.

You will also use Mrs. when referring to a woman that has been widowed. Some divorced women also prefer to go by Mrs. This will depend on both age and personal preference, so if you aren’t sure what a woman prefers to go by, you can always ask.

Is It Okay to Use Ms. Instead of Mrs.?

Ms. is an easy way to refer to any woman, regardless of marital status. It is a term that is neutral and has been used as early as the 1950s for women who wanted to be known for something other than their marriage. Ms. really took off in the 1970s during the Women’s Rights Movement.

Ms. looks like it would be pronounced like Miss, but they do sound different. Ms. is pronounced as mizz and is highly considered to be the female equivalent to Mr. In a business situation, married and unmarried women will be referred to as Ms. since marital status isn’t important.

Is Calling Someone Miss Rude?

Most women will not be offended if you accidentally call them Miss when they are clearly not a Miss. In most cases, you won’t be corrected, but if a woman does prefer to be called Mrs., they will make you aware.

It is also important to remember that each person is different and while one woman might not be offended being called Miss, another might. To avoid upsetting anyone and making them angry, you should always use Ms. unless you are sure the woman is a young girl and isn’t married.

What Do You Call a Woman That is Divorced?

This is a pretty tricky one to answer. Traditionally, Mrs. was only used by women in reference to their marital status. For example, they would be called “Mrs. Husband’s Full Name” or “Mrs. Husband’s Last Name Only”.

Today, as society has changed, it is seen acceptable for both married and divorced women to go by Mrs. However, they would no longer go by “Mrs. Husband’s Full Name” since they are no longer married. Mrs. is also generally used only if the woman keeps her married name after the divorce.

If a woman is divorced and takes back her maiden name instead of keeping her married name, she will be called Ms. instead of Mrs. For example, she would be “Ms. Woman’s Full Name” instead of “Mrs. Woman Husband’s Last Name”.

Why Would a Divorced Woman Keep Her Married Name?

There are several things that a woman needs to consider about her name when she gets divorced. It is common to see women keep the name they married into after they get divorced, but why exactly do they do this?


If coworkers all know a woman as her married name, changing it can be confusing to everyone. It is extra important to keep a married name if it is part of a business name.


The main reason that women decide to keep their married name after a divorce is because they have kids. Having the same last name as your children can make you feel connected and offer some stability to younger kids that don’t get why they have a mom with a different last name.

Length of Marriage

Women also use the length of time they were married to determine if they should keep their married name or take back their maiden name. If the marriage was short, chances are there are more people who know the woman’s maiden name than her married name.

If the marriage lasted for decades, it’s highly possible that most people only know the woman by her married name. In this case, it wouldn’t make sense to change her name back and confuse everybody.

Emotional Reasons

Some women become emotionally tied to their married name because of how many great memories they had with that name. If a woman really loves her married name, she probably won’t want to change it.

The Process

It is a huge hassle for a woman to legally change her name. She has to call all of her credit card companies, car loan, mortgage, bank, and any other company necessary to alert them of the name change. This means new bank cards will be issued, and that can be inconvenient. It is such a long and difficult process, it’s easier to keep the married name.

Can I Just Start Using My Maiden Name Again?

If you want to start using your maiden name socially, you absolutely can. This means you can ask all of your friends to call you by your maiden name, change your social media name and your personal email signature.

If you want to use your maiden name legally, you will need to legally change your name back from your married name to your maiden name.

Can You Call Yourself Mrs. If You Are Not Married?

After tons of research, it seems that if you are in a committed relationship and you want to call yourself “Mrs. Boyfriend’s Name” socially, you are more than welcome to. You can also ask others to refer to you as Mrs. if that is what you prefer.

Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss – What Are These Called?

Mr., Mrs., Ms., and Miss are called Titles(or Honorifics). You use the title in front of someone’s full name or last name as a sign of respect. If you use the wrong title for someone, chances are they will let you know that you used the wrong title and let you know what they would prefer instead.


Ms., Miss, and Mrs. are so often confusing because people aren’t sure how to use them. It is most acceptable to use Ms. if you are unsure whether a woman is a Mrs. or a Miss. This is the best way to avoid offending anyone!