student asking question

Why did he say "mr" instead of "sir"? I think what's equivalent to "madam" which is used for the Vice President is "sir", no?


Native speaker’s answer


From my understanding, "Sir" used as a title in Britain means a "knight" or "baronet," so I assume the people who came up with the title "Mr. President" in the United States wanted to be respectful but didn't want it to be associated with a British knight's title. "Sir" these days is used more casually and still indicates respect towards a person. But in terms of titles, it wouldn't be appropriate for the USA's president. Ex: The Formula 1 driver, Lewis Hamilton, was knighted last year and is now a "Sir." Ex: Mr. President, would you like some coffee?

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