I have to write a note to my course teachers and both of them are women. So, how should I address them? Dear Ma'ams or Dear Madames or anything else?

  • Madame is often used to address the proprietors of brothels...it depends on the stress...I would avoid that. Dec 25, 2020 at 20:05
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    Although the plural of Mrs is Mme (Mesdames), these are not used on their own without a surname following. Furthermore, ma’am cannot be used apart from direct address such as “Yes, ma’am!”, nor can it be pluralized.
    – tchrist
    Dec 25, 2020 at 20:05
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    Try using their names.
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 25, 2020 at 20:58
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    For some reason this Q was 'dumped' here. It belongs on Academia.SE, or may Inter-personal Skills.SE Please note that it asks for the appropriate salutation in a formal letter addressed to 2 women of unspecified marital status. Dec 25, 2020 at 20:59
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    Try something neutral, like, "Dear teachers", or "Dear teacher" in separate letters. Dec 25, 2020 at 21:22

1 Answer 1


If possible, you should use their names. It is generally rather impolite to use "Dear Madam" when writing to someone whose name you know, or whose name you should know. If you don't know their names, make an effort to find them out. For a formal letter you should use last names with an appropriate title (Ms or Dr or Prof. are common titles for women teachers)

Dear Ms Smith and Dr Jones,


"Ms" is correct and neutral. "Mrs" is correct if you normally refer to someone as "Mrs". "Miss" is usually avoided in a formal business letter, but can be used if you have been asked to by the woman to use this title.

Structures like "Dear Sir or Madam" are used in cover letters. These are letter that are sent to an unknown person who you do not know and are not expected to know, for example when applying for a job you don't know the person who will be hiring you. As you don't know the person, you don't know if they are a man or woman. It is very unlikely that you will know someone's sex but are not to know that person's name.

For a casual note, use whatever you would normally refer to them by.

Dear Katy and Nancy,


In the unlikely situation that you know the sex and number, but should not know the name of your teachers, I would use "Dear teachers," or if not teachers then "Dear Mesdames". To be honest this is very very unlikely to ever actually occur.

  • I remember having studied during school days that the plural form of 'Madam' is 'Mesdames' :), but have never had to use it... You reminded me of something I had forgotten.
    – Ram Pillai
    Dec 26, 2020 at 7:07
  • The problem is that I am from Bangladesh, and here addressing a teacher with his/her name is considered impolite.
    – Imran
    Dec 27, 2020 at 12:51

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