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?


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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