Blog Grammar Rules What Does Ms. Stand For?

What Does Ms. Stand For?

Krystal N. Craiker

Krystal N. Craiker

Blog Manager and Indie Author

Published Aug 17, 2022

What does ms stand for

Ms. is a courtesy title used for people who identify as women, regardless of marital status. Let’s take a closer look at what Ms. means and how to use it correctly.

  1. What Does the Abbreviation Ms. Stand For?
  2. How to Use the Title Ms.
  3. Examples of Ms. Used in Sentences
  4. Conclusion: What Does Ms. Stand For?

What Does the Abbreviation Ms. Stand For?

You probably know that Mr. is an abbreviation of Mister, and you might know that Mrs. is an abbreviation of Mistress. So, what does Ms. stand for?

Ms. isn’t actually an abbreviation of anything. It’s a standalone title to address any woman regardless of her marital status.

Ms isn't an abbreviation of anything

What Does Ms. Stand For in a Name?

The title Ms. actually dates to about 1901. The Springfield Sunday Republican published an article about the need for a title that didn’t immediately classify a woman as married or unmarried.

Traditionally, “Miss” was the title for unmarried women, and “Mrs.” is what we used for married women.

However, Ms. didn’t catch on until the 1970s with the second-wave feminist movement. It became more important to have a way to identify yourself without mentioning whether you’re married.

Miss often sounds like a young woman, although there are unmarried women of all ages. There was also the factor of discrimination in employment, housing, and banking, all based upon a woman’s marriage status.

Ms. was the solution for eliminating this. It caught on with feminist Gloria Steinem’s Ms. Magazine, which she founded in 1971. By the 1980s, Ms. was a generally accepted title.

Ms. doesn’t actually stand for anything. It’s simply a title that any woman can choose to use.

How to Use the Title Ms.

You should use Ms. for an individual that identifies as a woman whenever you do not know what title she prefers.

It doesn’t matter if you know her marital status. Many women, married and unmarried, do not use Miss or Mrs. in their names. If possible, ask which title she prefers. Otherwise, you should use Ms.

A grammar guru, style editor, and writing mentor in one package.
Try it for free!

Is There a Period After Ms.?

That depends on whether you’re using American English or British English.

The rule in most American writing style guides is to always place a period after titles like Ms., Mrs., Mr., Dr., etc.

If you don’t have a style guide, it’s up to you. It’s not incorrect to omit the period, but the generally accepted usage has a period.

Use the period even if there’s another punctuation mark directly after the title, like a comma or colon. If Ms. is at the end of a sentence, which would be unusual since it usually precedes a name, do not add an extra period.

How to punctuate ms

However, in British English, they do not use a period in name titles.

American: Ms. Grace Ramirez

British: Ms Tara Jones

You can write the plural of Ms. in two different ways: Mses. or Mss. Both of these are pronounced, “Mizz-ez.” Here’s an example of how you might use the plural of Ms.:

  • Mses. Ramirez and Jones are my favorite teachers.

Examples of Ms. Used in Sentences

Let’s take a look at some examples of how to use Ms. in a sentence. Remember, for American English, we use a period in the title, even if Ms. is in the middle of a sentence or if it directly precedes another punctuation mark.

  • Ms. Stephens called and said you were acting up in class today.
  • I will deliver the flowers to Ms. Martinez at the wedding venue at 10 a.m.
  • She prefers to use Ms. as her title, even though she is happily married.
  • My grandmother had a subscription to Ms. Magazine in the seventies.
  • Will you let Ms. Brooks know that I will be late for our lunch meeting?
  • Once Ms. Hassan gets her advanced science degree, she will be Dr. Hassan!
  • Ms. Banks called to say that she no longer needs our services.
  • Does your mom go by Mrs. or Ms.?
  • He told Ms. Dunn he would pick up the kids by 4 p.m.
  • Ms. Romano makes the best cookies out of all the soccer moms.
  • May I present our honored guest, Ms. Lily Lopez?
  • I wonder if Ms. Wiley remembers teaching your older sister.

Conclusion: What Does Ms. Stand For?

The answer to the question “What does Ms. stand for?” is “nothing!” But it is a title that can be used for any woman.

It’s not necessary to know a woman’s marital status for this title. Some women prefer Ms. because they don’t want to be identified by whether or not they’re married.

You can use ProWritingAid to check your punctuation usage and consistency. By selecting whether you’re using American or British English in your settings, you will get appropriate punctuation suggestions for honorifics. Try it for free today!

Take your writing to the next level:

20 Editing Tips From Professional Writers

20 Editing Tips from Professional Writers

Whether you are writing a novel, essay, article, or email, good writing is an essential part of communicating your ideas.

This guide contains the 20 most important writing tips and techniques from a wide range of professional writers.

Subscribe for writing hacks, special offers and free stuff
We will not share your details
Have you tried  ProWritingAid  yet? What are you waiting for? It's the best tool for making sure your copy is strong, clear, and error-free!
Krystal N. Craiker

Krystal N. Craiker

Blog Manager and Indie Author

Krystal N. Craiker is the Writing Pirate, an indie romance author and blog manager at ProWritingAid. She sails the seven internet seas, breaking tropes and bending genres. She has a background in anthropology and education, which brings fresh perspectives to her romance novels. When she’s not daydreaming about her next book or article, you can find her cooking gourmet gluten-free cuisine, laughing at memes, and playing board games. Krystal lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband, child, and basset hound. Check out her website or follow her on Instagram: @krystalncraikerauthor.

Log in
to your account to leave a comment or fill in your details below to comment as a guest.

Great Writing, Made Easier.

A grammar checker, style editor, and writing mentor in one package.

Try it for free today.