Using Messrs.: The Ancient Art of Salutations

Q: Do we still use Messrs. when addressing two men with the same last name in a letter salutation?

A: When correspondence is being addressed to a group of men, or they are being introduced collectively, one may use “Messrs. Gordon, Kauffman, and Legeloh,” or the definite article “the” may be used: “The Messrs…”

“The Messrs. Bomann” may be used for two brothers, but not for relatives of different generations, such as a father and son or a grandfather and grandson. When correspondence is addressed to two of three or more brothers in one family, their first names are used and you would write: “The Messrs. Reid and Thomas Coleman.”


  1. Donna

    At our university, we use “alumni first, else female” as a default for salutations. For instance, a letter may be addressed:

    Mrs. Jane Q. Public
    Mr. John Z. Public

    Should we than say “Dear Mrs. and Mr.” or still use “Dear Mr. and Mrs.” (assuming this is formal, and we are not using first names.)

    What about two women married to each other, one having taken the others’ name. “Dear Mrs. X and Mrs. X”?

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