I have found in WordReference English-Greek Dictionary the following sentence:

Harriet Bell is an author who writes under her surname and first initial:H.Bell.

In this sentence,when the author says first means first name.Is this correct?In the phrase 'first name' can I omit the word name?If I say 'Harriet Bell is an author who writes under her surname and first name initial:H.Bell',will it be correct?

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    Why would you want to do this? – Hot Licks Dec 21 '19 at 12:54

Someone’s initials unambiguously refers to their names, so we can talk about someone’s initials without needing to say that they are initials of their names. In fact, saying so would be redundant: “someone’s initials” already specified that, so “someone’s name’s initials” is tediously repetitive.


No. first name initial is not a customary English phrase, and first initial is not an abbreviation of it.

First initial means "the first of her initials" as you would expect in any other context.

There are occasional contexts where "first" could be read to mean "first name", (eg on some forms) but not any that I can think of in ordinary speeh

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    In other words, Harriet may have had a middle name, in which case she could have used both initials (as J.K. Rowling does). – Kate Bunting Dec 21 '19 at 12:43
  • Thank you very much!Your answer was a great help! – Marios Athanasiou Dec 23 '19 at 9:40

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