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Where to use the Prefix M/s. and where not to use it? Explained

We all have seen this prefix in many documents and we know that it is used as a courtesy prefix like Mr. and Ms. for gents and ladies respectively.

But sometimes we are bound to wonder 'why is this used?'. I was also confused on this as to where it should be prefixed, until one day a Corporate Lawyer while vetting a document pointed out a mistake regarding its wrong use.

Before we go in detail, let me first brief you about this prefix ‘M/s.’.




What is M/s.?

M/s. is the short form of the word Messrs.
Messrs is the plural for Mister (Mr.).
Messrs is actually an English abbreviation of the French expression "messieurs".

French people use the expression "messieurs" as a courtesy title before addressing a group of men.


Where to use the prefix "M/s."?

The prefix "M/s." should be placed before the title of an organization, only if that organization consists of a group of people.
Or simply stating, it needs more than one person before we can use it.

Example



Correct Use
Incorrect Use
For Partnership Firm / Associates
For Limited Company
M/s. Harry Stark & Co.
M/s. Vikash & Associates
M/s. Gajalaxmi Electronics System
M/s. Reliance Industries Limited
M/s. Parle Products Private Limited

One might think as to why it should not be used before a registered company's name, as a company is certainly in all cases owned by more than one person (except in case of a One Person Company).
A "company" is a legal entity and is considered as an 'Artificial person'. And, therefore, is treated as singular in all cases.




Legal Significance of Incorrect Use

Generally, wrong use of the prefix does not lead to violation of any laws. But it is important to write the correct form of English in documents. Writing correctly makes your document look more impressive


Hope this small but important use of terminology will help you to improve your understanding on use of M/s. prefix.



Comments

  1. Mohammad sheehab sharar05 March, 2017

    Beautifully explained... thank you .
    Sheehab Sharar,
    Bangladesh.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What should we need to use for Limited companies.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sir in my shopact m/s yogeshs Services
    I can issue bank account as m/s Yogeshs Services or Yogeshs Services

    ReplyDelete
  4. is it compulsory for unregistered partnerships to pre-fix M/s before it's title.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not compulsory under the law. But the use of this prefix (M/s.) at appropriate places, as mentioned above, is a requirement from the point of view of proper English writing practice. Since in all partnerships (whether registered or not) more than one owner is involved, M/s. should be prefixed before title.

      Delete
  5. Thank you for your beautiful explanation.

    ReplyDelete
  6. yes.. so well explained against my boss' claim

    ReplyDelete
  7. Well explained. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  8. could i use M/S word as prefix for university name???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No. University is a singular entity.

      Delete
  9. vikas chitnis20 August, 2019

    what is to be prefixed before cooperative housing societies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Generally, these days most of the cooperative housing societies are registered as "companies", wherein at the end of their name Limited or Private Limited get affixed. In that case, as mentioned in the article, M/s. prefix is not a necessity.

      In case a cooperative housing society is not registered as a company and is an association of some individuals, then M/s. can be prefixed before its name.

      Delete
  10. What about proprietorship Firms ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jivitesh25 May, 2020

      A proprietorship firm means a firm which is owned by one person only. Hence, there is no need to use M/s. It will be incorrect.

      Delete

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