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True, But

What is the point of the Mr, Mrs, Lord and Lady? Very few people other than lawyers appreciate these niceties. Nor is there any reason why they should. They are neither logical nor necessary.

If, centuries ago, there was a valid reason for adding these appendages, it has long disappeared.

But just because something is only historical, neither currently logical nor necessary, isn\’t actually a reason to change it. We could call Black Rod the Head of Security for The Commons if we liked, wouldn\’t change all that much except losing us a little part of our rich and varied history. A loss of something for nho very good or great purpose.

4 thoughts on “True, But”

  1. Black Rod is in the Lords. His full title is Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod and Serjeant-at-Arms. Head of Security for the Commons he could never be. That’s Serjeant-at-Arms you are thinking of. Not knowing our rich and varied history is also losing it. Grrrr!

    Tim adds: Mea culpa, mea culpa.

  2. of course Mr Mrs etc has a purpose.
    It tells one whether A. N. Other is male or female when addressing them formally and so engender approriate words appropriately

  3. It doesn’t tell if a man is married or not, though, so either it doesn’t do its job properly or Mrs stands out as strange.

    Lord and Lady – once the House of Lords is finally closed off to the hereditaries I can’t see any good reason why someone shouldn’t be allowed to call themselves what they want. It’s up to others whether they continue to do so.

  4. I’d have issues if my electricity or phone company workers started calling me “Thomas” rather than “Mr Thomas”. Titles are part of etiquette and hence inform how respect is conveyed through good manners.

    That said, I agree with Matthew in that the use of Miss and Mrs proves increasingly difficult and I tend to use the marriage-neutral but awkwardly-spoken Ms in their stead.

    The fact that the writer shows such a lack of knowledge of British history and the role of titles within it by saying “if, centuries ago, there was a valid reason” tends to render what they have to say on the subject worthless.

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