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Which idiom of "by the name", "under the name", and "in the name" is appropriate for reservations?

e.g.

There's a reservation by the name of Cullen...

She made the reservation in the name of Jordan Sinclair...

Make your reservation under the name of ECW...

Instinctively, I would go for "under", but I'm just not positively sure.

If all three options actually work, is any of them more typical of a variety of English than another, or they all can be used just about interchangeably in all varieties?

  • When you say "English" dialect, do you mean British English? – Kristina Lopez Feb 13 '14 at 23:29
  • @KristinaLopez I mean more typical to an English variety than to another. ;) – Elian Feb 13 '14 at 23:37
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    This NGram may be enlightening. Essentially, in is more common than under, particularly in recent decades. And by has always been so uncommon it's below the radar. – FumbleFingers Feb 14 '14 at 0:23
  • @FumbleFingers How would a BrEng speaker normally say that he/she has made a reservation? Would "I have a reservation for (surname/lastname)" be used? I don't think I have ever made a reservation for a table in the UK; it's always been done by someone else! – Mari-Lou A Feb 14 '14 at 1:55
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    @Mari-Lou: Well, as joseph_morris rightly points out in his answer, you wouldn't normally say the name of anyway (if you did, it would suggest that's not your real name). Contrary to my NGram link, I too would tend to say under if I had to choose between that and in. But in practice when I walk in I normally say "You should have a reservation for Smith" (though actually that's not my real name, and I can honestly say that in all my "dirty weekends away" I've never registered under a false name! :) – FumbleFingers Feb 14 '14 at 2:04
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For AE (midwest, Calif.), I recognize all three as acceptable, but would tend to use "under". It's what I encounter most frequently, but I'm also imagining the host looking up the reservation name in a book with a bunch of tabs with letters on them (even though that's not actually what's happening most of the time). You can also just say "I have a reservation under Franklin".

If I were actually showing up at a restaurant, I'd most frequently use "for" -- "Hi, we have a reservation for Franklin."

"In the name of" has a slight implication that you're making the reservation with a name other than your own.

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I do think there is a difference between 'in the name' and 'under the name'. For instance, the secretary calls the hotel and asks to make a reservation in the name of her boss Mr.Cullen. On the other hand, let's imagine I go to the conference and I make my reservation or get registered under the name of my company MTC. That's how I see it.

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