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First question: My name is Anh D. Pham, but I go by “Andy”. If I want to include my nickname, where should I put the nickname portion?

  1. Anh D. “Andy” Pham
  2. Anh “Andy” D. Pham

Second question: I think it’s normal to use a middle initial. However, I have two middle names, not just one. Would it look weird to use two middle initials? For example, like one of these two:

  1. Anh D. M. Pham

  2. Anh D.M. Pham

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"First M. 'Nickname' Last" is the usual convention. Both the first and middle names are given names, and should not be separated by the nickname.

Note that in the case of a compound surname, you would do it the other way: "Edward 'Eddie' Van Halen".

As to whether or not to use two middle initials, ask George R. R. Martin (i.e., it's fine).

  • 1
    Or (since OP asked) "First S.T. 'Nickname' Last". – TimLymington Jun 11 '14 at 21:21
  • Thanks for your help, as for second question, is it common in the US to use 2 (or more) middle initials? P.S. All questions answered, thanks! – Andy Pham Jun 11 '14 at 21:23
  • @AndyPham - I edited the question to address two middle initials; thanks. Multiple middle names are very unusual in the US (George H. W. Bush notwithstanding), so forms aren't usually designed to accommodate them. I think people usually just use the first of the two initials if necessary. – phenry Jun 11 '14 at 21:27
  • @phenry Yes, thank you so much again! Everything is clear now. – Andy Pham Jun 11 '14 at 21:33
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Two initials are fine; it's not necessarily common, but it's not "weird", either.

As for spacing, this may be a matter of style. To me, no space at all can look awkward or cramped, so I would probably include a space after the D.:

Anh D. M. Pham

However (as @tchrist indicates in a comment below), some seem to find the space equally distracting. For more formal documents, perhaps the best course of action would be to use a thin space – provided your word processor or printer would support it.

As for where to put the nickname, I'm assuming "Andy" might be derived from "Anh D." If so, then:

Anh D. "Andy" Pham

might read a little more naturally than:

Anh D. M. "Andy" Pham

So, in your case, you may have a legitimate reason to omit your second middle initial when you are including your nickname.

  • Just FYI: “Rule 2.1.5 Add little or no space within strings of initials. Names such as W. B. Yeats and J. C. L. Prillwitz need hair spaces, thin spaces, or no spaces at all after the intermediary periods. A normal word space follows the last period in the strings.” ―page 30 of Robert Bringhurst’s The Elements of Typographic Style, version 3.2 . The big issue here is whether we’re talking typewriter print or typeset print. Plus the web doesn’t do kerning right anyway. If one is doing this professionally, one must apply subtler adjustments than just “space or no space” for a good look. – tchrist Jun 11 '14 at 22:08
  • @J.R.: It was not until u said it that I realized that Andy sounds like Anh D. Thanks for the suggestion, I'd go with Anh D. "Andy" Pham then. Nice day! – Andy Pham Jun 11 '14 at 22:13
  • @tchrist - I defer to your judgment in these matters; I know you have studied typography much more than I have. Thank you for making a comment; I shall edit my answer. – J.R. Jun 11 '14 at 22:18
  • Gosh, I just realized that I already answered this very same question, and with the very same answer, too: right here. I would draw your attention to how in my answer posted there, the very same string sequence (by code point) looks quite different in unkerned web-Georgia compared with how it looks under a typesetting system that understands a font’s kerning rules. And those aren’t even the most noticeable example-pairs for how different it is with or without kerning as would be even more dramatic were it say a capital T followed by a period. – tchrist Jun 12 '14 at 22:22

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