Before a name, use Dr. on first reference for a person who holds a doctor of dental surgery, doctor of medicine, doctor of osteopathy, or doctor of podiatric medicine degree. For multiple people, use Drs. Do not continue the use of Dr. in subsequent references.

Care should be taken when referring to people with non-medical degrees as doctors; state the person’s specialty by the second reference (visit Know Your AP Style: Academic degrees).

Proper use:

  • Dr. J Marion Sims, often called the “Father of Gynecology,” is a controversial historical figure whose methods are questioned by modern ethicists.
  • English primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall is an expert on chimpanzees and has made a lifelong study of the species’ family structure in Tanzania.

Improper use:

  • Doctors Derek Shepherd and Meredith Grey are a romantic item in the long-running TV series “Grey’s Anatomy.”
  • Dr. Louis Pasteur is lauded for his contributions to the science of vaccines and pasteurization. (The French chemist and microbiologist was not a medical doctor, though he urged doctors and their assistants to wash their hands before it was common practice.)
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