Excuse me, er… Mam vs. ma’am

Sometimes an apostrophe can make all of the difference. So it is with these words.

“Ma’am” is the correct spelling of the polite address of a woman, as in “Thank you for the change, ma’am.”

“Mam” refers to a member of a Mayan people of southwestern Guatemala or to the language they speak.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.