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They both are titles- Mr. and President. But, Mr. President is a valid address to Mr. Barack Obama. Is it grammatically okay?

I am also confused what if there is a lady president. How do we address her?

  • This is an interesting question, especially the latter part! :) +1 – Maulik V Mar 21 '15 at 12:35
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    You said that it is "valid", but you don't know if it's "grammatically correct". It seems you are saying that it is correct and then asking if it is correct. Can you make your question more clear, if possible? It is correct in every way, but I don't know what to say about "why". The equivalent manner of address for a woman is "Madam President", though I'm sure if a female president preferred to be called "Ms. President", people would do so. "Mrs. President" would likely be avoided due to potential confusion resulting from traditional uses of Mrs. which are tied to a husband's title. – Jim Reynolds Mar 21 '15 at 13:06
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    This question seems more appropriate for English Language & Usage. According to Wikipedia, similar usages go back to 1376. I have also read that this is a tradition descended from how a congressman greeted President Washington shortly after he became president. According to Wikipedia, Washington wanted a ridiculously grandiose title. My impression is that most Americans thought humble titles were honorable. – Jasper Mar 21 '15 at 16:01
  • @jasper fascinating! Growing up, I had always heard that Washington wanted to avoid grandiose titles so that they wouldn't become the tyranny they sought to escape from. Even though that doesn't make any sense, I believed it all. Apparently the exact opposite is true, as they were worried "his highness" or "his majesty" isn't grandiose enough. – James Mar 22 '15 at 2:24
  • @Jasper I don't believe that detail about George Washington. I don't believe Washington wanted a grandiose title. Remember that Washington refused to run for a third term; thus, the two-term limit for the Office of the President. – hfontanez Mar 22 '15 at 4:23
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1337 is perfectly correct, to expand a bit...

President is both a title and a name substitute depending on how it's used:

President Obama

In this case, President is a title and it applies to Obama.

Mr. President

This is often (if not always) used when addressing the president directly (assuming you aren't a close friend or family). It is the equivalent of using "Your Honor" when addressing a judge. It is a polite way of addressing him without using his name, which might be a little informal.

Other options are:

Mr. Obama

This is often used in news reporting to talk about the president.

POTUS

Acronym for "President of the United States". This is generic and applies to any currently sitting president.

In the case of a female president, the correct term would be:

Madam President

This is just like Nancy Pelosi was "Madam Speaker" when she was Speaker of the House.

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It is grammatically okay. In this case, "Mr." is a title and "President" is a name (the name of an office position). As for a lady, she would be referred to as Madam President.

(or something like this)

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  • it's mrs - check wikipedia – JMP Mar 23 '15 at 7:18

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