Forms Of Address

For ways of saying you, see the grammatical note You.

Se?or/se?ora/se?orita

Forms of address used with surnames are se?or (for a man), se?ora (for a married or older woman), and se?orita (for an unmarried woman):

  •  buenos días, se?or Gómez
  •  pase por favor, se?ora Lozano
  •  se?orita Abreu, la esperan en recepción

 

When talking about someone, these forms are preceded by the definite article and the first name may also be included:

hará uso de la palabra el se?or Antonio Gómez

permítame presentarle a la se?orita Lucía Jiménez

Se?orita is also used with the first name when talking to or about a teacher:

  •  ?puedo salir un momento, se?orita Raquel?
  •  me lo dijo la se?orita Ana

 

Se?or, se?ora and se?orita are also used without a name, for example, to address a stranger:

  •  buenos días, se?orita
  •  pase, se?ora
  •  ?esto es suyo, se?or?

 

In restaurants, stores, etc. they are heard more frequently than the English Sir, Madam, or Miss:

  •  ?la atienden, se?ora?
  •  ?me permite su abrigo, se?or?

 

The customer is sometimes addressed in the third person:

  •  ?qué desea la se?ora?
  •  ?qué va a beber el se?or?

 

Don/do?a

The forms don (for a man) and do?a (for a woman) are used as a sign of respect, particularly to older people with a certain social status. They are commonly heard when addressing doctors, priests, teachers, etc. They are used with first names: 

  •  buenas tardes, Don Carlos
  •  ?cómo está, Do?a Susana?

 

When talking about someone the surname may also be included: 

  •  Don Carlos Valenzuela
  •  Do?a Susana Salvador

 

However, don and do?a cannot be used with surnames only.

Addressing people and referring to them by their professions or titles

Titles like doctor, profesor, ingeniero, etc, and their feminine forms, are used with the surname: 

  •  doctora Bonino
  •  ingeniero Soto

 

Padre can be used with a priest’s surname or with his first name:

  •  Padre Martín
  •  Padre Garese

 

Nuns are addressed by using hermana, madre or sor with their Christian name:

  •  hermana Angélica

 

Some titles, like doctor, profesor, padre, and hermana, are often heard without the surname:

  •  ?puedo salir, profesor?
  •  ?qué me recomienda, doctor?

 

Ingeniero, licenciado, and their feminine forms, are also used in this way, but mainly in certain Latin American countries:

  •  a sus órdenes, licenciado
  •  como usted diga, ingeniero

 

To refer to someone by their profession or title requires the use of the definite article: 

  •  el príncipe Felipe
  •  el doctor Tercedor
  •  el catedrático Jiménez López

 

As a mark of respect people can be referred to in the following way: 

  •  el se?or doctor
  •  la se?ora abogada
  •  el se?or alcalde

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