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It is a common practice, people calling and writing Tony for Anthony, Mike for Michael, Max for Maxwell etc. It is correct to write or call ? I mean Anthony and tony can be two different names. Why confusing then?

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    They are nicknames: a shortened or familiar form of a person's name: Joe is a nickname for Joseph. thefreedictionary.com/nickname – user66974 Jun 1 '15 at 10:16
  • The most common diminutives (at least among English names) are those that are short forms of the original name, very often from the first syllable or sound of the name. For example, Alex is from Alexander, Barb is from Barbara, Deb is from Deborah, and Mike is from Michael. Other short forms don't come from the beginning of the name, but instead from the end or the middle, like Beth from Elizabeth, Fred from Alfred, Greta from Margareta, and Lisa from Elisabeth. behindthename.com/glossary/view/short_form – user66974 Jun 1 '15 at 10:21
  • This is not really an English thing. Many (most?) languages tend to use (standard) short forms of names. In Dutch, Johannes becomes Han, in Greek Christos becomes Chris (and half the boys can potentially become Akis, which is just the diminuitive!), etc. – oerkelens Jun 1 '15 at 11:58
  • The more interesting question is of course why Robert is called Bob, why William is called Bill, or John Jack... – oerkelens Jun 1 '15 at 14:28
  • Thanks, Josh. How do we account for Peggy being a nickname for Margaret? – Margana Jun 1 '15 at 14:28
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Tony, Mike and Max were originally just short forms of names, used by people whose full name was Anthony, Michael or Maxwell. However more recently parents (being free to use whatever names they want) have sometimes explicitly named their children Tony, or Mike, or Max.

It is however unusual, and most Tonys or Mikes that you meet will probably have Anthony or Michael on their birth certificate, even if they never use the full version.

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