Etiquette Daily’s Greatest Hits: What’s up, Doc? Addressing a PhD.

Etiquette Daily’s “Greatest Hits” are questions that generated a great deal of conversation when they were originally posted. At the Emily Post Institute we have learned that some etiquette questions never go out of style and are bringing back a few of these popular conundrums for your further consideration. Enjoy!

Q: My son-in-law will soon receive a Ph.D.  What’s the correct way to address him when I send him a letter or card?  What about when I write to both him and my daughter?  And do I introduce him as “…my son-in-law, Dr. John Smith”?

A: A doctorate degree is usually used professionally (either as John Smith, Ph.D., or Dr. John Smith) but often not socially, so ask your son-in-law what he prefers.  When in doubt, it’s never wrong to acknowledge the degree.  If you wish to do so, address your son-in-law as “Dr. John Smith.”  When addressing both him and your daughter, write “Dr. and Mrs. John Smith.”  You may introduce him as “Dr. John Smith.”

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