When it's about adults, we have plenty of choices... Mr., Ms., Mrs., or even Sir and Madam. But then what about kids? Kids aging 7 to 12 (approx). What about in our practice, a day-to-day practice?

Hey kid,... does not sound 'respected.' Excuse me works but that's a witty escape. I want a prefix for kids which addresses them respectfully.

I want answer for both - a girl and a boy. I remember little boys being called 'Master' but then what about little girls? Miss only? So, a kid to an adolescent to a woman (unmarried) she's Miss but a boy is Master to Mister.?

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    As a note for our answerers (I'm curious to learn about the usage too), I suspect that the usage might vary depending on the context (the occasion, regional, register, who is speaking to whom, etc.), so it might be the best to be explicit about the contexts that you believe that the usage is appropriate. Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 6:37
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    It's just clear to me that the case of "Mr. Potter" is not a good example, because the teachers know Harry Potter's name. I'm sure that the teachers won't call Harry Potter, "Mr." or "Mister". And, calling Harry Potter, "Sir" would sound awkward. I wonder if there is anyone calling someone else in the novel when they don't know the name of the other. Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 10:42

4 Answers 4


You are correct. Back in the day, "Master" was a common title for a young boy to whom one was showing respect. The corresponding title for young girls was / is "Miss".

Now days, "Young Man" and "Young Lady" are usually terms that I use whenever I want to address kids with any amount of respect. While these terms generally do a lot for the kids in terms of feeling like fancy adults, there really isn't a way to show a great deal of respect to children. However, if you are interested in doing your best, I believe the above options are the way to go.

  • +1 Thanks. 'Young man' completely was off my mind. I'll still wait for others to answer as it's interesting to know. But yes, this is what I wanted.
    – Maulik V
    Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 6:46
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    Good point; but I would like to add that the words "young lady" and "young man" are often used by parents to address their children when they're angry.
    – Helix Quar
    Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 9:41

When using Mr., Ms., and Mrs., these should be accompanied by his/her name.

(e.g.) Mr. Potter, or Mrs. Potter.

You will never call someone: Hello, Mister!, without his last name.

If you don’t know his name or don’t want to use it, then you can use “Sir”

In case of a lady you will say: “young lady!” or “madam” or shorter “ma’am”.

In case of a boy you will use “young man”.

  • A little correction. Mr. and Mrs. takes the surname and Ms. takes the first name! :) Mr. Anderson (surname), Mrs. Jackson (surname) and Ms. Jane (name!) Having said that, Mr. Potter is okay but Ms. Potter is unlikely!
    – Maulik V
    Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 6:56
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    @MaulikV: Do you have a source for Ms, being used with the first name? wikipedia states that "[Ms.] is an English honorific used with the last name or full name of a woman".
    – oerkelens
    Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 7:09
  • Well, I saw several examples, Ms. goes with both. But Mr. goes with the last name. Lucian, you still need to edit the line ... You will never call someone: Hello, Mister!, without his remove-her and it's last name.
    – Maulik V
    Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 7:35
  • miss with a first name is condescending (at least in America) and should be used only with great caution
    – hunter
    Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 8:05
  • @MaulikV: Mr., Ms., and Mrs. can be followed by a last name or first name and last name. Do you have examples of where you saw any of the three being followed by only a first name? Ms. Johnson, Ms. Jane Johnson, but certainly not *Ms. Jane.
    – oerkelens
    Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 8:19

This is an exceptionally rare situation. It is normally not okay to have interactions with children that you don't know.

There are some situations, but these fall into two categories.

  1. Don't use anything

Get off my lawn!

Trick or treat! — Here you are.

Excuse me! You've dropped your glove.

This isn't a "witty escape", it is the polite and proper way to interact in these kind of short interactions with a stranger. English speakers don't use a prefix, not even with adults.

This is the case if you need a short or simple interaction with the child.

  1. Situations, probably involving some sort of emergency. In these, you ask for the child's name.

Waaah Waaah

Are you hurt? My! that's quite a bump. Is your mum here? Sit down. What's your name?

You can use various terms of endearment in such a situation. These are often quite specific to the local dialect, but "love", "dear", and "poppet" are all possible: "Are you hurt, dear?... Sit down, love."

This is the case if you need to have a longer or more complex interaction with a strange child, and their parent or guardian isn't present.

  • There are a few other situations. For instance if you're a shop assistant or work somewhere else that children may be customers. Or if you're involved in a job that requires supervising children but you may not know all their names (crossing guard, school bus driver, teacher but the child is in a different class). In these cases you'd probably work out quite quickly what is acceptable - but it may depend on your age and gender, a young man at a 5-a-side football pitch would use a different term to an elderly dinner lady.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Dec 18, 2023 at 11:42
  • "if you're a shop assistant" Case 1, Don't use any special word. "Crossing guard, school bus driver," Should be case 2, but if it case 1 probably okay. "teacher in a different class" Certainly case 2: ask their name, use it.
    – James K
    Commented Dec 18, 2023 at 19:02

Mr. Is the answer is suppose as that is what you call men. . In certificates for competition i have won, they used Mr. To my namemail so I think that is the same for men and male kids

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