Questions tagged [surnames]

A surname is most commonly defined as a synonym for last name or family name in English.

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Why is the Turkish president's surname is spelt in English as Erdogan, with g?

I recently got puzzled as to why American journalists spell the surname of the current Turkish president in articles written in English as Erdogan, with g (see, e.g., this article in New York Times). ...
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Capitalisation of foreign names

British mathematician and logician Augustus De Morgan has De in his name. But the French physicist Louis de Broglie has de in his name. Why so? Something to do with being French or British?
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216 views

Why isn't Robert Mueller's last name pronounced like Ferris Bueller's? [closed]

Mueller, Mueller, Mueller? Why isn't Robert Mueller's last name pronounced like "Bueller" of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" fame? Is there a correct pronunciation? I've been pronouncing it like Bueller ...
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What do you call a married woman in a titled position? [closed]

I tried to search if someone has asked this question. The closely related to this I found here, but I am not sure that it is correct to my question beside the person who asked that question didn't ...
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661 views

Suffix -smith in surnames

I recall reading once that the "smith" in some surnames stood for something like "the one who works with". For example: Coppersmith, the one who works with copper or deals with copper; Wordsmith has ...
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95 views

Plural of East European surnames

Would the collective noun for the Ivanovic family be "Ivanoviches"? I called the Invanoviches for confirmation.
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128 views

How do I go about writing and pronouncing my name if it has non-english letters [closed]

So I'm soon going to England to study and I'm not quite sure how should I write or pronounce my name in English, which includes Lithuanian letters. I can't imagine anyone spelling my full name ...
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What term to use to refer to a late husband's last name after marrying again and taking the new husband's name?

When I married my first husband I took his name and used the term "nee" to quickly refer to my birth name. After my first husband died, I remarried and took my new husband's last name. Now I want to ...
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How do you make a surname show where you live? [closed]

If one wanted to show where they came from, for example: first name: David Last name: of the white mountains Would there be a prefix/suffix? (like the "Mc" in McDonalds)
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607 views

Adjective or words to describe a family name evoking a specific origin?

Some last names can be immediately linked to a location or social class, even if they're not of foreign origin. For example, my family name is evocative of small-time farmers from the south-west ...
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40 views

How to deal with changed surnames

I am working on a history of pioneering tradeswomen in which several women's last names change during the two-decade time period. What is the best way to deal with this? Should I include both names at ...
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2k views

Initials in Multiple Surnames

I was wondering how one would abbreviate initials in a surname with multiple parts, e.g. Van Heule or Le Var? They're technically separated by the space unlike names like McDonald or O'Leary etc. ...
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Terminal “f” versus “ff” in anglicized Russian surnames

Today, foreign names are anglicized more or less systematically from their original spelling: the Russian surname "Петров" generally becomes "Petrov", not the calqued "Peterson" or the more phonetic "...
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When to expect a *kn*

Here is a personally inspired question, but I hope it finds broader relevance. Without clear specific roots, what phonetically indicates that a word is spelled with a kn rather than an n? Recently a ...
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3k views

Is it necessary to capitalize the surname if it is used in isolation from the rest of the name (if it is not capitalized within the name itself)?

On the Wikipedia page for Guillermo del Toro, whenever he is referred to as solely "del Toro" (and the name's not at the beginning of a sentence), the "d" in the name is not capitalized: On May 30, ...
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239 views

How should I write “Eastern order” last names in English?

The "Eastern order" of last names (i.e. Surname Forename) is used in many countries and cultures. When writing the name of someone whose name would be in Eastern order in their culture, what is the ...
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4k views

How should title and suffix appear when writing last name first?

It's common in business to list persons in order of last-name-first. Instead of "John W. Van Dyk", write "Van Dyk, John W.". But what should be the convention when the name has a title or suffix. ...
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518 views

How to translate my name [closed]

I have seen many types of translation/transliteration of my Russian first and last names to English by different people. At the current moment I don't know what to choose when I want to introduce ...
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729 views

How widespread is the usage of Senior, Junior, III in British English?

Upon asking about the Spanish equivalences of Senior, Junior and III, I got to know that these are commonly used in United States, but not that much in Britain. Talking about the United Kingdom, a ...
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8k views

Name Pronunciation with Apostrophes

I was trying to understand how to properly pronounce certain names. My teaching has said words and names with apostrophes require a separation for a missing letter, like O'Malley would be pronounced ...
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What is the proper way to say “Clinton”?

I have always assumed that Bill and Hillary Clinton's name is pronounced Clin-tun. But during this year's election coverage, I noticed that a great many people pronounce it as Clin-uhn, with no "T" ...
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Possessive form for a surname ending with “z”

What is the proper possessive form for a surname that ends with “z”? Is it z’ or z’s?
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64 views

Referring to a character in a text as 'The [Last Name]'

I have scoured the internet and am yet to find the reason why. I am in process of helping a friend out and would like to know why we refer to them as 'the [Last Name]'. Eg. 'The Beaker slid across the ...
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188 views

Is “Quinn” a good given name in English culture? [closed]

"Quinn" has a similar pronunciation with my Chinese given name. I wonder if it is a good choice to use "Quinn" as my English given name. I have know that "Quinn" is from Irish culture and is mainly ...
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Common English Surnames ending in S

A number of common English surnames are the same as common English given names, with the addition of an "S." Examples are Peters, Daniels, Michaels, Matthews, Roberts, Phillips, Isaacs, Williams, etc....
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Why do we write the surname before the first name when writing someone's name?

I do not completely understand the reason behind why we write our surnames before our given names when listing them on documents, usually separated by a comma. EX: Donald Trump would sign "Trump, ...
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321 views

Translating a surname to English - a tough one

Hello Ladies and Gents! This has been bothering me for the last couple of years. When I was 16-17y old I had a problem with explaining my US/UK friends how to pronounce my surname - "Wieczorek". ...
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Pronunciation of the name, “ Leonhard Euler ”

In almost every source I know, Euler has been pronounced as /ˈȯi-lər/ . Nevertheless, in a number of books translated to other languages, it is mentioned as: /ˈjuːlər/ . I doubt in it incorrectness, ...
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Specific word denoting the name of a person who has no last name

If my name is "John Doe", then: My first name is John My last name is Doe However, if my name was "John", does a specific term exist to denote a name that has no last name? Or is it just "name"?
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How to abbreviate a double-barrelled surname?

I have the initials D S-K as I have a double-barrelled surname, and this has always been how I have written them. I was recently reading through The Lord of the Rings, and realised that a character's ...
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4answers
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Should I put my surname after my given name when I introduce myself?

I'm confused about if I should put my surname after my given name or not when I tell a western people what my name is. I would like to use the Pinyin version of my original name instead of choosing a ...
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777 views

Which is more appropriate here regarding in names: Junior or the 2nd?

I am from Philippines and I had a childhood friend named after his father, Cipriano Reyes, so my friend's name is Cipriano Reyes II. But as far as I know, when a child was named after his father ...
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What is the correct plural form of a family name that ends in -i? [closed]

I have just made a family group with my surname which is Karami, and I want to make my surname plural to show this is a family group, so I'm wondering whether I should add -s or -es? Which one is ...
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4answers
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Is it okay to ignore putting periods between initials?

My name is Venkatesh MG. M stands for the name of my birth place, which begins with M, and G is an initial derived from my father's name. Since school, I have been using only these two variations of ...
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982 views

Is there a word for a last name that is also a word? If so, what is it?

For example; Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, John Doe, Sweet Brown (all these last names are also words).
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Why are surnames often misspellings of English words? [duplicate]

Why do English surnames so often seem to be derived from slight misspellings of common English words? Weekes Thorne Browne Lilley Keene Paige Lowe Hooke Hawthorne Sargent Whyte Chappell Horne ad ...
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937 views

Plural possessive of a family name [closed]

If I want to say that I spent the night at the house that belongs to the Johnsons, which of the following structures is correct: I spent the night at the Johnson's. or I spent the night at the ...
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Why do Football players prefer to use their family name? [closed]

I read that in Western countries, people prefer their first name over their family name, that is why they put their first name first, in form first name + family name For example Wayne Rooney, Steven ...
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321 views

Why do we write “Fourier's law” but “Soret effect”?

Can you explain why do we write e.g. Fourier's law, Ohm's law, Newton's law of cooling, etc. but Soret effect, Dufour effect instead of Soret's effect, Dufour's effect? What is the principle?
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Maiden name vs birth name

My partner has changed her name in the past, for reasons not related to marriage, so I was wondering whether her maiden name would be considered her name at birth, or simply her pre-marital name? For ...
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Why is the surname Gray more common than the surname Grey in the UK?

An EL&U question from 2010 asks Which is the correct spelling: "grey" or "gray"? The answers very sensibly point out the split between the UK and former British commonwealth ...
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1answer
240 views

Did “brushwoodsmen” exist?

While talking to someone about surnames and ties to various jobs in the past ("Coopers" worked on barrels, "Smiths" made things, etc.) I asked about "Brushwood". He said that name tied to "...
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Initial capitalization of foreign surnames when starting a sentence

In the book, "The Crystal Shard," by R.A. Salvatore, a character is surnamed "de Bernezan." Which of the following complete sentences uses the correct English-language capitalization: de Bernezan ...
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2k views

Zero Article in Family Names

This is from an article in a recent issue of Time magazine: "Barbara Bush has said on several occasions that she suspects Americans are tired of Bushes even as she asserts that Jeb would be the best ...
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How to refer to a 'second' last name or family name?

I know in most english speaking countries, there's no such a thing like a "second" last name. But for example in spanish it's quite common (we are fond of long a complicated names lol), our full names ...
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2answers
4k views

What is the 'last_name, first_name' format called?

Is there a name for the format of listing names by 'Last name, first name'? For example, how names were listed in phone books when those existed. Ex: this list of names is sorted (blank style): ...
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1answer
25k views

Proper address for married couple when husband is a Jr

I have been unable to find a complete answer to my question in any source I have consulted. I want to make a donation in memory of my deceased parents. I would like to use both of their first names ...
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1answer
138 views

What is the term for using an ancestral given name as a surname?

This is NOT a question about people who have surnames that are usually found as given names, such as Rand Paul. My question relates to the process of Americanization of surnames. For example, I have ...
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1answer
612 views

Can anyone come up with two names whose pronunciations are respectively same as “who” and “how”? [closed]

I would like to find out occidental names whose pronunciation are close to my names in my native language. The first name and second name contain preferably only Latin alphabet. In order to state the ...
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3answers
16k views

How does one address a blended family in which the members have different surnames?

I am confused about how to address a family in which all the members have kept their original surname. What is the proper way to address such a family in a note to a family which consists of a single ...