ethnicity unknown

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ayiran

Senior Member
Persian-Iran
Hi everyone,
I want to write a title for persons that their ethnicity is unknown
My question: Should I write 'ethnicity unknown' OR 'unknown ethnicity'?
Are they interchangeable in such a context somehow?
Thank you!
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Where do you want to write this? As a column heading in a table, for instance, you could probably use either, but this might not always be the case.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    My problem with this is "who is it unknown to"?

    Is it unknown to the individual? Or to the compiler of the information?

    For example:

    Many forms require: First name, Middle initial, Last name.

    First and last names are almost universally known. If the middle initial space is left blank, we don't know if there is no middle initial or if that information is simply not known. In some cases "NMI" is used (No Middle Initial).

    My mother had no middle name. So no middle initial.

    Someone else might have a middle name, but because of poor record keeping that person might not know what it is.

    So "unknown to whom"?
     

    ayiran

    Senior Member
    Persian-Iran
    My problem with this is "who is it unknown to"?

    Is it unknown to the individual? Or to the compiler of the information?

    For example:

    Many forms require: First name, Middle initial, Last name.

    First and last names are almost universally known. If the middle initial space is left blank, we don't know if there is no middle initial or if that information is simply not known. In some cases "NMI" is used (No Middle Initial).

    My mother had no middle name. So no middle initial.

    Someone else might have a middle name, but because of poor record keeping that person might not know what it is.

    So "unknown to whom"?
    Thank you Packard

    Unknown to those who see it in the table
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Thank you Packard

    Unknown to those who see it in the table
    So the ethnicity might be known to someone. I fill out forms all the time and they often allow you to check a box that says: I prefer not to answer.

    Ethnicity: Information not available.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    You could use two-tier column headings. Above the columns of named ethnicities plus "other" and "unknown" (or whatever term you care to use for "not disclosed" or "information not available") there is another heading "Ethnicity", spanning all of the columns.
     
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