Miss vs Ms
Knowing the difference between Miss and Ms is important in contemporary society as they are two terms that are used in everyday life. Also, these two terms matter when one is making social calls. Therefore, knowing the difference between Miss and Ms can only be an advantage. As Mr is used to address men, both Miss and Ms are used to address women. Miss was the term that was in use for long while Ms is relatively new. However, it is the equivalent of Mr because when Ms is used in front of a woman’s name you can no longer speculate about her marital status. Let us now have a detailed look at the difference between Miss and Ms.
What does Miss mean?
Miss is used to refer to women who are not married or are single. In the words of the Oxford dictionary, Miss is “a title prefixed to the name of an unmarried woman or girl, or to that of a married woman retaining her maiden name for professional purposes.” A spinster too could be addressed with the title Miss. This is because of the fact that a spinster is an unmarried woman. You can never use Miss to address a married woman. Look at the following example.
This is Mrs. Smith’s eldest daughter, Miss Arabella.
In this example, we understand that Arabella, who is the daughter of Mrs. Smith is still single as the title Miss is used in front of the name.
In addition, Miss is pronounced as mis with a ‘s’ sound at the end.
What does Ms mean?
Unlike Miss, one can use Ms to address both married and unmarried women. That is why it can be considered as the equivalent of Mr. Mr does not declare the marital state of the man in front of whose name it stands. In the same manner, Ms does not declare the marital status of the woman in front of whose name it stands. For a more formal definition of Ms look at the following definition given by the Oxford dictionary. Ms is “a title used before the surname or full name of any woman regardless of her marital status (a neutral alternative to Mrs or Miss).” Look at the following example.
Here comes Ms. Sarah Parker.
This Ms. Parker could be married or unmarried. If Miss was used in front of her name, we know she is unmarried. If Mrs was used we know, she is married. However, because it is Ms that is used in front of her name one cannot know the marital status of this woman.
Moreover, Ms is pronounced as miz with a ‘z’ sound at the end.
What is the difference between Miss and Ms?
It is quite important to note that Miss and Ms are mere contractions of the term, ‘Mistress.’ Sometimes women tend to keep their surnames after marriage. They may not go by their husbands’ last name. Some women would link their names with their husbands’ name.
Ms was once the working woman’s choice of address. It is important to note that till the 1970s the title Mrs was used to denote the wife of the person that was addressed Mr in the sense of a relationship that binds them through marriage. As the years passed by the usage of Mrs gradually changed to Ms and it referred to the woman that got married. In other words, Mr. John Smith and Mrs. John Smith were husband and wife that gradually became addressed as Mr. John Smith and Ms. Jasmine Smith or simply Ms. Jasmine.
There is a difference of opinion among the linguists regarding the transformation of Mrs into Ms. Many would feel that the usage of Mrs simply died out. They feel that married women can be addressed with the title Ms and not by any other title.
Miss vs Ms
• Miss is used to address unmarried females.
• Ms is used to address both married and unmarried females.
• Miss is pronounced with a s sound; Ms is pronounced with a z sound.
• Ms can be known as the equivalent of Mr as it does not reveal the married status of the woman in front of whose name the title is used.