What does the comma mean when placed in between surname and first name when writing an initial?

For example - Elisabeth, George - what does the comma indicate?

  • Net-net: When a "Western" name is being listed with "last name" first (as when creating an alphabetical list), the convention is to write last_name, first_name ... whatever_else. Thus the above example is for a person named "George Elisabeth". – Hot Licks Sep 7 '16 at 2:48

A couple of problems here. Your example doesn't have an initial. And the name of the author is Elizabeth George. In references that place the surname first, a comma is used to separate the last name of an author from the initial of her first name. This style is often used in the author lists in scholarly papers. If this were the case for the mystery writer, her name would be cited as "George, E." If she were to be referred to by her full name "Susan Elizabeth George," the cite would be "George, S. E."

  • Looks, from the way the OP has written it, as though it is a man, Mr George Elisabeth. – WS2 Jun 18 '15 at 6:54
  • The OP has; she's not. Go here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_George – deadrat Jun 18 '15 at 6:56
  • @deadrat They're both such common names that without more info we have no way to say whether it's Elizabeth George or George Elizabeth. – curiousdannii Jun 18 '15 at 7:39
  • They're both common names, but not together. A US phone lookup finds 3 George Elizabeths and 1 George Elisabeth. Likely no one would put any of the four in a last-name first listing. But perhaps the OP was merely using an example he made up. In any case, it doesn't matter to the answer to his question. – deadrat Jun 18 '15 at 7:54
  • I think @WS2's point was simply that when a comma is used like this, the surname goes first, so "Elizabeth, George" looks like a way of writing "George Elizabeth", regardless of what was intended or whether such a person actually exists. – Max Williams Apr 29 '16 at 13:55

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