The general rule most newspapers in the UK follow is that a living person is referred to by his or her title, with the exception of actors, those involved in sports or convicted criminals. I’m slightly surprised nobody from the first two groups has objected to being classed with villains and corpses.
That’s a legend. The NY Times style guide does insist that at title (Mr., Ms., Dr., etc.) be used with last names, but the Times did not refer to the singer as Mr. Loaf, at least not seriously.
On 17 July 1991, a Times article on Meat Loaf carried the headline of “Is He Called Just Plain Meat Or Should It Be Mr. Loaf?” The article itself does not refer to him as “Mr. Loaf.” The headline is clearly meant in jest. And a few years later William Safire mentions the legend in an On Language column and quotes an editor who states, “we were only kidding around.”
In his youth, King Hussein of Jordan attended Sandhurst Royal Military Academy in Great Britain. The Sergeant Major was disparaging him and making him repeat the insult. He ascended to the throne at a young age, but I’m not sure if he was actually “King Hussein” while at Sandhurst.
The instructors at Sandhurst are notoriously rough on their charges, royal or not. One was quoted some time ago, in reference to Prince Harry, as saying “I will call him ‘sir’ and he will call me ‘sir’, but only one of us will mean it.”
[ Edited: 28 February 2007 03:29 PM by Dr. Techie ]
The only example I can give is where someone would playfully reproach a friend he knows very well indeed. For instance if I were to say to Dr Techie (who happened to be one of my very best friends and whom I normally addressed by his first name only), “Henry* Techie, what do you think you’re saying?”
(Of course, I wouldn’t dare say this to Dr T, and nor would any of you).
A few years ago I was administering a vocational training scheme for general medical practitioners. Applicants to the scheme were, naturally, addressed in letters as “Dear Dr Patel”. As soon as they joined the scheme, and were personally known to the course organisers and administrators who met them every week, any letters to them were addressed to “Dear Raj”. But the senior course organiser would always address the interim letters, informing them of their success in gaining a place and giving them their joining instructions, to “Dear Raj Patel”, as a sort of halfway house. It made me wince every time he did it; it struck me as so unnatural, since he wouldn’t have dreamt of addressing them that way in speech.
I’ve just checked through some recent business correspondence and most of it is addressed to Dear <first name>, the remainder to Dear Mr <surname> or Dear Sir. Most people sign themselves <first name> <surname>, though some use <title> <intial> <surname>. I found one letter addressed to “Dear Salutation”! (That’s not my name, I hasten to add). I can’t remember ever receiving a letter starting Dear <first name> <surname> and would find it odd if I did.
I must apologise if I gave the impression that I addressed people by their first name and surname. I only use that form when introducing myself. Now, is anyone else going to admit doing likewise, or am I still in a minority of one?
Do you mean simply that you introduce yourself by saying e.g. “Hello, I’m Bayard Cheval” or that you say e.g. “Hello, Renaud Montauban, I’m Bayard Cheval”? If the former, I do the same, although sometimes, especially when introducing myself to students or prospective students, I hesitate between “I’m Henry Techie” (to borrow the nom de web Eliza bestowed) and “I’m Dr. Techie”. Students at my college are expected to address the faculty as “Dr. ---” or “Prof. ---” (or, for the rare non-doctorate instructor, “Mr. [Ms., Mrs., Miss] ---").