1. shiordia Member

    Mexican spanish
    Hi. A french site is asking for my "nom" and my "prénom". Don't they both mean "name"? What's the difference between them?
  2. bobepine

    bobepine Senior Member

    Canada, English & French
    Hi and welcome!

    They mean last/family name and first/given name.
  3. catheng Senior Member

    France; Français
    Which would be used by AE speakers for nom : .............. and prénom : ......

  4. DaiCon Member

    Detroit, Michigan, USA
    United States, English
    Replying to a rather old post, but I think it would be:

    Français :

    nom : ..........
    prénom : ..........


    Last name: ..........
    First name: ..........

    I have seen them in this order ( nom / prénom ) on forms on French web sites, but normally on forms in English first name would be listed first. I don't know if the order is ever varied on French sites. Asking for last name (family name) first seems odd to me as a native English speaker.
  5. Micia93

    Micia93 Senior Member

    in the center of France
    it depends on the documents
    you can something find "prénom", then "nom" (when fulfilling an inscription at school for instance)
    but I admit it's rather rare. Last names are considered as more important in french administration.
  6. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    The trouble with "Last name, first name" (or vice versa) is that they're very ethnocentric. In Hungary, China and other countries the order is reversed, and Muslim names don't follow the same rules either.

    I prefer to say family name or surname for Nom, and given name for prénom (Christian name is out for obvious reasons). Some clients ask what name people prefer to be called by, which helps.

    Within France I always feel that the reverse order Nom-Prénom is quite bizarre and unique to bureaucracies - though I have once heard a person ask if I had news of our mutual friend Dupont Jean. After all, when did anyone talk about Bardot Brigitte?
  7. NainCipide New Member


    I'm french. I hope I could help you to understand.
    In france, some people write their Last name then their first name. But it's an error. As english speakers, we write and say first name then last name. Some official document ask for the last name first, but this is a stupid error. However, it seems to be accepted by the french speakers, so...
    French people forget more and more the rules of their own language... For example, in french, when you want to write Mr. Smith, you write "M. Smith". A majority of people (the official document too) write it in english form : Mr. Smith. What a pity...


    Quebec tries to forbide the english words, but that's a little bit ridiculous to hear :).

    Sorry for my english ! Bye !
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2010
  8. franc 91 Senior Member

    English - GB
    Very often the surname or family name is written in block capitals and the first name or Christian name starts with a capital letter but continues in small letters to make sure which is which - SIMON Michel for example.
  9. NainCipide New Member

    I'm sorry, but that sounds like a non-sense for me.
    Every name begin by an uppercase, in english too. And in French, the rule is to write Michel SIMON (often for official document) or Michel Simon, not SIMON Michel. This is Japanese order, not french. Even if a lot of people think so.
    That's true that in official document, the last name is before the first name, because the last name is a better way to identify someone (as in english. There is more John first name than Johnson last name). But when someone ask me my name, I would say "My name's Michel Simon" and not "My name's Simon Michel".
  10. franc 91 Senior Member

    English - GB
    On official documents the surname comes first
  11. enoo Senior Member

    French - France
    Etymologically, the "pré-nom" is the thing that comes before the nom, but of course, it can be written in any order, depending on the writer preferences - or depending on what is asked. (Very often (always?) it's nom, then prénom in official papers. )

    NainCipide: Saying that "SIMON Michel" is a non-sense and that the nom/prénom order is an error is a non-sence too ;) It's just your personnal opinion on that matter.

    (The capitalisation of the familly name is a good way to make sure that the reader understands what is what, especially since so many familly names are also used as first names in French speaking countries.)
  12. xiancee

    xiancee Senior Member

    I checked on my credit cards and different plastic cards inside my wallet :

    • credit cards : FIRST NAME then FAMILY NAME
    • carte vitale (social security) FAMILY NAME then FIRST NAME
    • other cards (library etc) 30 % family name first

    And I am one of these sorry kind of French people with a family name that can be used as a first or given name hence more confusion!
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2010
  13. NainCipide New Member

    I don't agree :).
    The name was invented during the middle-age. People gave name to others to describe them. For example Louis Le Bon (Louis The Good). The last name try to describe the person. With the Renaissance, the name became a Patronyme for the all family, which was used for the official documents.
    But, we don't care :p.

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