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If I'm writing an article about John Smith III, I'll use his full name, including the suffix, when I first introduce him in the article. For example:

"The owner of the dog, John Smith III, was surprised at the size of the [...]"

After that, if I refer to him by surname, I don't use the suffix:

"When questioned about the damage, Smith was evasive."

I see and hear people include the suffix when referring to someone by surname, which seems wrong to me:

"Smith III continued on as if nothing was wrong."

Is there a formal rule that states to not use the suffix with surname references?

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No suffix. He is not the third Smith, but the third John.

If you wish to distinguish Smith from his father, use the suffixes junior and/or senior.

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