Someone I know be a doctor soon, and I want to address this person with its future title but emphasising that s/he is not yet a doctor, so if I say that

to-be-Dr. Alice

Would that be meaningful ?

For example, I saw a similar usage in Star Wars Clone Wars: A droid addressed Asoka as Jedi, but she responded saying that she is not yet a Jedi, and then the droid addressed back to her as something like




(I don't remember exactly)

  • Usually "to be" comes after the future title or status. Such a usage would be jocular and unofficial. A person is either a doctor or not a doctor. Informally people call (e.g.) a pregnant woman a "mother-to-be" Sep 12 '19 at 17:36

I do not believe that there is a widely recognised usage for this purpose. We do have titles such as




once and future King

but I think such formulations have evolved piece-meal rather than emerging from some grammatical rules.

I think your idea of

soon-to-be-Dr Alice

is rather charming and entirely obvious in meaning. I do think you need the soon because the process of becoming a Doctor is quite lengthy and I think you intend to emphasise that becoming a Doctor is imminent.

We could attempt to be more formal:

Dear Alice.

I so look forward to the day when I can write "Dear Dr Alice!"

But I prefer your idea if this is a relatively informal letter.

  • There is also “Doctor-to-be.” Sep 13 '19 at 4:12
  • Doctor-in-training ?
    – Smock
    Sep 13 '19 at 11:05

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