My name is James Lamar Smith, in which my first name is James, middle name is Lamar and my last name is Smith. I would like to know which form of my short name is acceptable in English:

1 J. L. Smith (with space after periods)
2 J.L.Smith (without space after periods)
3 J L Smith (without usage of periods)

And my question is: can I omit periods by using space anywhere after using a capitalised letter without periods like J L Smith? From J. L. Smith? And there is a space after the periods; can we neglect it as in J.L.Smith? Could it be used without using space anywhere? Which is acceptable in English for official and agenda use?

  • You can write your name anyway you want to. Most people leave a space before the surname. Jun 18, 2018 at 5:03
  • 1
    For all official purposes, only the first would be acceptable. In other instances like mentioning a name within text, the applicable style guide if any, needs consulted.
    – Kris
    Jun 18, 2018 at 5:28
  • @user Not always, though.
    – Kris
    Jun 18, 2018 at 5:28
  • The first person pronoun is always capitalized in English. See also: Writing and English Language Learners
    – Kris
    Jun 18, 2018 at 5:31
  • Certainly K. S. Maan is correct and acceptable in general use, and I doubt that anyone would object to K.S. Maan. I wouldn't recommend K.S.Maan, but I wouldn't call it wrong. The periods/full stops after initials are sometimes omitted; I have seen the equivalent of K S Maan used in some scientific journals, for example. If you're writing for publication, consult the publication's style guide for its preferences in this matter. Otherwise, suit yourself.
    – tautophile
    Jun 18, 2018 at 6:14

1 Answer 1



  1. Wikipedia and the NYT write the author's name as J. K. Rowling and J. K. Rowling

  2. The author herself chooses this form, © J.K. Rowling and © J.K. ROWLING (note the use of block capitals)

  3. The Guardian, a British newspaper, favours this form: JK Rowling, author of 15 books…

If you're looking at omitting the dot/period, I would personally avoid adding spaces between the initials, e.g. J K Rowling. But people are free to write their name as they please.

A Wikipedia page of authors whose first and middle names are abbreviated; e.g. D. H. Lawrence, J. D. Salinger, T. S. Eliot, J. R. R. Tolkien, etc. They all follow the same format.

In their manual of style/abbreviations, Wikipedia says [emphasis mine]

Use initials in a personal name only if the name is commonly written that way. See Wikipedia: Manual of Style/Biographies for when to use full names and other formats.

An initial is followed by a full point (period) and a space (e.g. J. R. R. Tolkien), unless:

  • The person had or has a different, consistently preferred style for his or her own name. In that case: treat as a self-published name change; examples include k.d. lang and Jeb Bush.
  • An overwhelming majority of reliable sources do otherwise for that person; examples include CC Sabathia.

It seems that the British convention is to omit the dot (period) in names that have initials. The Independent has an article about people whose middle initials are invented. Famous examples include; Ulysses S Grant, Harry S Truman, Michael J Fox, and JK Rowling.

  • 3
    I am British; I write MJ Harvey. My father wrote R.H. Harvey. Jun 18, 2018 at 9:12
  • Of course, if you use periods (points, BrE) and do not put in a space, it becomes visually squished and looks awful. Likewise, without periods, you would remove the space. So, this answer is right. What would not be used is: J K Rowling, as you say.
    – Lambie
    Jun 19, 2018 at 15:42
  • If someone has his middle name then their must be a space between two initial and in JK Rowling K is even not exists its her grandmother name but in my example J L Smith is used instead of JL Smith to differentiate between two intial so space is used between J and K.
    – K S Maan
    Jun 20, 2018 at 2:07

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.