First Name + Last Name or Last name+First Name [introduction]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by GeogeHalin, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. GeogeHalin Senior Member

    Hello members!!

    My friend and I had a debate on how native speakers say their names.
    My friend said it was up to the speaker to whether to say the first name or last name first. But I disagreed.

    I think when we introduce ourselves or somebody, we always say the first name first, and then follow by last name.
    If my first name is Grace and last name is Smith. We'd say "My name is Grace Smith."
    If my wife's first name is Mary and last name is Green. We'd say "This is Mary Green. My wife."
    -However, my friend thinks we can say "Smith Grace" or "Green Mary in these cases if we want.
    I think it's wrong and we don't say it like that.

    The only situation I could think of it's, when it's a book cover, we might put the last name first, but there has to be a comma before that. Like, if the author's first name is John and last name is Brown. We should write either "John Brown" or "Brown, John". Though stating the last name first is still unusual.
    But, we have to say "This book is by John Brown." NOT Brown John.

    Do you agree or disagree? Is there any way we might say the last name first?
    Please tell me what you think.

    Thanks so much!
  2. pob14 Senior Member

    Central Illinois
    American English
    With a Western name, it's first name first. (That's why we call it that, don't you know! :D)

    The only time we use "Brown, John" would be in a bibliography, or some other list which will need to be alphabetized (because we alphabetize by last name).

    Now with an Asian name, in deference to the way the name is used there, we generally do say the family name first (Kim Jong-un, not Jong-un Kim). But not with a Western name.
  3. Miss Julie

    Miss Julie Senior Member

    Chicago metro area
    That would be bizarre to me...I would never do that.

    Last name and then first name is for written purposes only.

    And I would say The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was written by Mark Twain, not "Twain Mark."
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2013
  4. kool-wind

    kool-wind Senior Member

    British English
    Or you could say it like this;

    My name's Bond, James Bond
  5. DonnyB

    DonnyB Sixties Mod

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Yes, you don't reverse the order of Western names unless for instance you wanted to put a list of pupils at a school in alphabetical order of surname. I suspect your friend is getting confused with the practice where you both live of putting the family name first.
  6. GeogeHalin Senior Member

    Thank you everybody!

    What if my English name is George but my family name is Mokushi.
    Should I say my first name first or last name first?
    I think in an English speaking world, I'd better say 'I'm George Mokushi."

  7. Miss Julie

    Miss Julie Senior Member

    Chicago metro area
    Right! :D
  8. pob14 Senior Member

    Central Illinois
    American English
    As Jackie Chan, born Chan Kong-sang, does. :tick:
  9. RM1(SS)

    RM1(SS) Senior Member

    English - US (Midwest)
    But you have to be careful when doing this - if the person you're introducing yourself to isn't familiar with English/American names, you might end up being called "Whitaker Walt" from that point on....
  10. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    Generally speaking, yes.

    In the U.S. military, however, it's common to use the surname first in certain contexts, such as calling the roll, reporting for duty, etc. .... because that's the way names are listed.

    I believe you use the given name first in Japan, right?
  11. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    The Japanese use the given name (GN) + surname (SN) when writing in English or other European languages. They use SN + GN when writing in Japanese or Chinese. (I'm using the labels given name and surname, rather than first name/forename and last name, because the labels carry no implication about position.)

    I am ethnically Chinese but I have an English GN, and I would always introduce myself with GN + SN. For those with only Chinese GNs, practice is variable. Some will adopt the Japanese stratagem of using the English order, particularly creative people eg the cellist Yo-yo Ma.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013

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