Why Ms Clinton instead of Mrs Clinton?

Can you cite that? It sounds like a nice story but I feel it isn’t true.

The Wikipedia article certainly doesn’t mention that story. Nor did this NYT article (which admittedly I only skimmed).

That would probably work.
At least, until everybody woke back up again. Then there would just be something additional to argue about.

(which is the rule that guarantees I’ll have a typo somewhere in this post?)

Gaudere’s Law.

What the Mx. was proposed for is cases where the gender of the person is unknown, or where the people originating a mailing didn’t want to include it in the program.

Possessive pronouns are gendered in English but not in Spanish. And there is nothing “resembling gender” to grammatical gender; it is gender, and in fact it was one of the meanings of gender way before sociology coined its own meaning, even longer before the sociological meaning was co-opted as a way to avoid the dreaded word sex.

Could somebody please enlighten a poor non-native English speaker about what the different abbreviations “Mrs.” and Ms." actually stand for, being abbreviations? Does Mrs. stand for “Mistress”? Is Ms. also a “Miss” when written out? And how are they pronounced to be distinguishable, Ms. with a soft/voiced s [ˈmɪz], possibly to be confused with Miss ['mɪs] with a non-voiced s?

“Ms” isn’t an abbreviation for anything.

Mrs is, in fact, short for Mistress. So is ‘miss’, for that matter.

Ms isn’t short for anything. It was coined ex nihilo (keeping the ‘M’ start from Mr, Mrs, and Miss), because there was no address for women that was agnostic about marital status* (unless she’d earned a non-gendered title, such a Dr). In other words, it was coined specifically because no word existed that it could have been abbreviated FROM.

Mx is, of course, also coined ex nihilo after the example of Ms.

  • At the time of coining. Funnily enough, Mrs was originally for all women, married or no, but it shifted a few centuries back.

Crikey, I hate to say it, but you’ve been under a rock. I’ve been ‘Ms’ my whole adult life and I’m 49. It’s choice to not be defined by marital status. And it’s a polite term to use if you don’t know (a) the preference of the woman you’re talking to or (b) her marital status.

Yeah. I agree. I’m 50 and Ms. has been a general standard my entire adult life. I recall being taught it explicitly when I was in third grade or so, which would have been around 1977.

It’s pronounced like the plural of the letter M, or as the end of the name of the candy (M&Ms). Along the lines of “ems” but I’m not sure that’s the right symbol for the vowel (it’s the one m-w uses but they’ve got their own ideas about IPA).

That’s why I went out of my way to use an example of someone we almost all know their marital status.

No, it’s pronounced like “miz”, distinguishable from Miss (“miss”) or Mrs (“missus”). It’s definitely not pronounced like the plural of the letter M, which would be “ems”.

Common usage now (and for a while now) is to use Ms unless the person specifically asks to use Mrs. Their marital status makes Mrs a possibility, but not the default.

Wow, that was enlightening! As a non native, I always assumed Ms. to be the short form of Miss. And for my life I never HEARD (from pure pronounciation) a difference between Miz and Miss, or rather I always attributed it to simply different dialects.
Ignorance fought!

Oh great, we just found another dialectal variation!

I’ve never heard Ms pronounced as plural of the letter M (or ems). I’ve always heard it pronounced like Telemark said.

When I was younger I thought “Ms” was an abbreviation for “Miss” and “Miz” was abbreviated “Mz” and nobody used it outside of a few radicals who spelled “women” as “womyn”. I was wrong.

Surprisingly, in my dialect at least, this is not an issue that comes up often in conversation. I remember calling all my teachers “miss” because “missus” is basically the same thing but with a slightly elongated “s” at the end. And if you slur a little, it’s indistinguishable from “miz”. And outside of school, it’s not an issue at all. Women are introduced to me invariably by their first name, possibly first name/last name, and I rarely write or email anyone I don’t know, so I never need to decide which word to use. I suspect the concept will disappear entirely in American English before I’m dead. I do like using titles like that occasionally because it sounds quaint and old fashioned, like calling my friends “sir” or “ma’am”. But it certainly isn’t necessary and almost sounds like the opposite of formal and professional to my ears.

I think this one is particular to you, or to native Spanish speakers, perhaps.

My own opinion about when she is a Ms has to do with Bill’s relationship(s?) with other women and what seems to be not a ‘standard’ marital relationship so a polite way of separating her from Bill.

As for Ms, back in the 70’ 80’s 0 my experience was Ms common for divorced women, but it was not inherent in the definition and some feminist also used Ms but again not exclusively for them either, but most people seemed to go with the traditional Miss/Mrs, and further some were insulted by the term Ms. - I remember a woman ranting about it and why would she want to hide the fact that she is married while at another time the opposite a ‘Miss’ complained about the Ms usage, not a rant but yes it bothered her. Perhaps the association with divorce had something to do with that for both of them.

In the 90’s when computers really started taking over Ms became more common which I suspect it’s just easier to put Ms in a database then a assumed marital status which may have changed and attitudes seemed to change about it and it became more acceptable.