I am writing an English letter to a married Russian couple, and they've got the same root for their last name, with a '-a' suffix for hers. Is there an acceptable way to address them both without writing out both names in full?

For example, for a couple 'Eva Ivanova' and 'Victor Ivanov', could I address them collectively as 'Eva and Victor Ivanov[a]'?

  • 1
    @VitalyOsipov Could you post that as an answer?
    – l0b0
    Dec 10 '13 at 8:21

Just the same way like in English you can put any last name in the plural to mean "the family of ...", like the Smiths, the Lennons, the Bushes, so you can do that in Russian, and that's what you need to do when addressing a couple. In your case, you can write Ева и Виктор Ивановы. Still, putting last names into plural and declining them is a tricky thing when dealing with Russian, Rosental has a whole chapter devoted to that. What is the most important, is that last names (rather rare ones, though) that end in -аго, -ако, -яго, -ых, -их, -ово and (Ukrainian, rather widespread) that end in -ко (-енко) are not declined, and their plural is the same as the singular, that is why Ева Черных and Ева и Виктор Черных, Виктор Петренко and Ева и Виктор Петренко.

  • The question was how to write it in English, so the answer is useless.
    – user31264
    Dec 12 '13 at 12:16
  • 1
    @user31264 - If the question is about English, then why is it asked at the site about Russian? Here I answer only about Russian words, their forms, and sentences made up of those words.
    – Yellow Sky
    Dec 12 '13 at 14:00

Using first name + patronimic for each of them is the normal polite way to address a Russian couple, whether you're writing in English or in Russian.

For example, "Dear Olga Petrovna & Viktor Vladimirovich".

Your own example sounds very official, government-like.

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