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From The Globe and Mail Style Guide

honorifics

The Globe and Mail Style Guide


honorifics

 The courtesy titles Mr., Mrs., Ms. etc. are used in second reference to all persons 16 and older. (In first reference, use the given name or at least two initials.)

 Plural honorifics appear awkward and stilted; if only a few names are involved, it is better to repeat the honorific (Mr. Brown, Mr. White and Mr. Green). If a sentence contains a very long list of names and cannot be recast, use the plurals Messrs., Mses., Drs. and Profs.

 In view of the established practice in these fields, the sports, arts and books sections do not use the standard honorifics. Specialized honorifics that are more in the nature of job descriptions, such as Dr., Rev. and Justice, may be used in first reference along with the given name in these sections; thereafter, only the surname is used. However, if a husband and wife figure in the same story, the honorifics Mr. and Mrs. may be the most efficient way of keeping them straight in subsequent references.

 Entertainment and arts figures get honorifics whenever they appear in the news pages. Sports stories given front-page play do not include honorifics if they are merely accounts of an important game or meet. However, honorifics are granted to sports figures who appear in the news pages in connection with such things as criminal charges, testimony at hearings, illness, politics and charity work. If the turn of such a story runs on a sports page, the honorifics are retained.

 Entertainment, arts and sports figures get honorifics whenever they appear on the news pages.

 The fashion section indicates the great-figure status of top designers by using surnames without honorifics (Givenchy etc.), but uses honorifics for other persons, such as show organizers, storeowners etc.

 In the news section, significant figures in history and the arts are often referred to by a single name, such as Churchill, Hitler, Gandhi, Picasso, Pasteur. In some cases their given names are not needed even in first reference, and no honorific is used in second reference. For Canada, omit the honorifics for prime ministers from Confederation to Mackenzie King, for Fathers of Confederation, for explorers, for prominent colonial administrators, and for sports and arts figures prominent before the Second World War. However, an honorific might be necessary if a contemporary has been granted one in the same story. (Do not write King and Mr. Pearson.)

 Children 15 and under are called by their first names in second reference. An exception might be a precocious 15-year-old engaged in an activity on an equal footing with adults, such as appearing as one of several speakers at a political convention. Conversely, it is sometimes necessary to call adults by their first names in second reference, if a story is dealing with two or more relatives of the same sex. A feature about the political Axworthy brothers, for example, could refer to Lloyd and Tom whenever there is a chance of confusion. There is no need to repeat the surname each time in such cases.

 For women, the standard honorific is Ms., unless we know that a particular woman prefers and uses Mrs. or Miss. The honorific Miss is used occasionally if a long-established stage name appears in the news pages, such as Miss Hepburn, Miss Taylor. This is a judgment call.

 Use the title Dr. for all persons with an earned doctorate, be it in medicine, dentistry or history, unless the story is not about the person's professional capacity and the subject prefers that the title not be used in such contexts. Reporters should determine the subject's preference. Outside the professional context, we should not create the impression that a person is a medical doctor if this is not the case. Do not use Dr. for people with only honorary degrees. The title is often omitted in first reference, particularly if there is a description that indicates the doctorate, such as heart surgeon Mary Smith or paleontologist John Smith. They would be Dr. Smith in second reference. In first reference, Dr. and Prof. are abbreviated if used as honorifics, but are spelled out, lower-case, if they are used as descriptions, as in Vancouver doctor Peter Black or history professor Alice White. If a person with a non-medical doctorate is expounding on medical matters, such as the benefits of vitamin C, specify the nature of the degree. In stories about mental treatment, differentiate between psychiatrists, who are MDs with an added specialty, and people with a PhD in psychology.

 Use the English honorifics only, not M., Mlle, Herr etc. If such honorifics appear in direct quotes, follow the spelling custom of the language concerned. In French honorifics, for example, there is no period if the last letter of the honorific and the abbreviation are the same.

 We do not use the royal honorifics HM, HRH etc. Simply say the Queen, Prince Charles. In second reference, members of the immediate Royal Family, with the exception of the Queen, are referred to either by their given names (Philip, Charles) or by their titles (the Duke, the Prince), but not both.

 For duke or duchess, which may be a royal rank but is also the highest non-royal one, say the duke in second reference, using upper case only if the rank is royal. Lord is now commonly used in second reference to the next British ranks of marquess, earl, viscount and baron. For territorial titles, drop the "of" in second reference, as in the Marquess of Queensberry, Lord Queensberry. If only the rank is used, make it lower-case (the earl said). The younger sons of dukes and marquesses attach Lord to their name, as in Lord Peter Wimsey, Lord Peter. Life peers choose their own names, but generally attach Lord to their surname, as in Lord Olivier. In second reference to knights and dames, say Sir Alec, Dame Wendy. In the arts and sports sections, however, we use surnames in second reference to peers, knights and dames (Olivier, Hiller).

 Judges are called Justice in first and second reference. The exceptions are chief justices at both the federal and provincial levels, who are called Chief Justice Smith etc. in second reference. Retired judges (on commissions, in private life) are Mr. or Ms. on second reference. First reference to judges of the U.S. Supreme Court is Justice.

 We do not use the political honorifics Rt. Hon. and Hon. Political officeholders and appointees in Canada or any other country become Mr., Ms. or Mrs. in second reference, or Dr. if they continue to use that title themselves in their political careers. We do not repeat the title, unless the second reference is far down in the story and the person is obscure. Say Mr. Chrétien, Mr. Bush and Ms. Fraser, not Prime Minister Chrétien, President Bush and Senator Fraser.

 For the titles of clergy, see religious titles. For military and police titles, see ranks.

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