DEAR MISS MANNERS: When did it become correct to use “Mr. and Mrs. John and Jane Doe”? I am seeing it a lot. I was taught that it is always “Mr. and Mrs. John Doe.”
If it is necessary to include the wife’s given name, it would appear as “Mr. and Mrs. John Doe (Jane),” correct? Am I just seriously out of date, or is including both names still incorrect?
GENTLE READER: This is a response -- and an awkward one -- to the system’s being out of date. We are in a period of transition about how to address a couple, and it has lasted much too long and provoked endless squabbles. So Miss Manners wishes people would stop improvising.
When the idea is to recognize both individuals, a correct alternative, which works whether or not the pair are married or share a surname, is to use two lines: Ms. Jane Doe/Mr. John Doe.
(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)