American practice re postnominal letters

In Commonwealth practice, there are generally three sorts of postnominal letters that are used commonly.

The first is academic or professional qualifications, like PhD, FRCS, QC, etc. These things are used in addressing letters to people, in publications by and about them, and so on.

The second is royal awards, like OBE, CBE, OM, etc where they are used in a way similar to the above.

The third is military decorations - VC, DSO, MC, etc. Any John Smith who is a VC winner is known as John Smith VC forever. Hospital wings will be named after him as “The John Smith VC Radiology Centre” and so on. In any written publication about a soldier, the reference will be to General Sir Francis Drake, VC, DSO.
I realise Americans do the same with academic awards. I also realise they do not do it with royal awards because they kind of frown upon them.

But do they do them with military awards?

Is it David Q Jones NC? Michael B Brown MH? If not, is there any reason for why not?

There aren’t any American military awards that confer post-nomial doodads. As for why not, I suppose it’s just not something that exists in American culture, it has probably never occurred to anyone to put a military decoration in their name. This of course is probably rooted in the American rejection of ceremonial titles in general.

The only titles I’ve known people to really care about are the ones conferred by college degree (the title of “Doctor”). Even then, it’s not considered a particularly big faux pas and is usually corrected in a polite aside.

Any military member I’ve known will only reveal their decorations if asked. As best I can tell, there is a long tradition of such humility.

As friedo has said, it’s been long ingrained in our culture ever since our separation from England. However, I don’t recall ever hearing any mention of postnomial etiquette in my English and Grammar courses.

I have noticed something at my company, which is in the healthcare industry and we have a LOT of alphabet soup medical professionals - MD, DO, RN, PA, etc…

When it gets weird is when you see email sigs like “Dumbass McStupid, MBA” or “Idiotic O’Jackoff, BS.”

I always thought that the only one of those academic titles to stick onto your name was PhD, but apparently it makes some of these folks feel better to stick their non-doctoral title onto their signatures.

I don’t, although I’ve always wondered if I’d have more clout if I did.

  • Bump, MS, MBA.

What annoys me is when people start redundantly applying both their pre- and post-nomial nomenclature, e.g. Dr. Fancypants McDickface, M.D., or Mr. Amoral Lawyer, Esq.

(BTW, the curious American usage of “Esq.” for lawyers is a worthy subject of study in its own right; everywhere else uses it solely as a consolation prize for failed social-climbers.)

I’m an RN and at work, we’re required to list our discipline after our signature. I’m in the habit so much that I find I sometimes sign other things with “Cub Mistress, RN” Fortunately, my bank hasn’t rejected any check so signed for incorrect signature!

Esq. is not redundant with “Mr.”

(In NY at least) Esq. has a specific meaning, which is that you are licensed to practice law aka “admitted to the Bar.”

If someone puts “J.D.” after their name, it’s both extremely pretentious and a sure sign they are not actually an attorney.

It is. You are allowed to use one or the other, or suffer my wrath.

There you go! Lawyer = “failed social-climber” :smiley:

Juvenile Delinquent :smiley:

IIRC, the two military awards that carry postnomials are the Medal of Honor (CMH) and Distiguished Service Cross (DSC). I believe the order is: academic degrees (doctorates), professional certifications (CPP for security, NBCT for teachers, etc.), military decorations (CMH, DSC).

What I notice in education is that there are a lot of teachers that use their masters as their academic degrees.

Saint Cad, MS, MA, FBS

There are also other professional accrediations that come with letters- CPA is a good example.

How can it be, when it has a meaning totally apart from “Mr?” Anyone can use “Mr.” A non-lawyer who uses “Esq” is making a fraudulent misrepresentation (in New York).

Thank you all for your replies. I must confess to being no wiser, but much better informed.