Roger Mills wrote: > Dan Jones wrote: > > >I've noticed something. Loads of American names have an initial in the > >middle, like Raymond E Feist, Kathlyn S Starbuck and even our own David E > >Bell. Whereas over here we don't do this. Generally we just ignore our > >middle names, and consequently a random letter in the middle of the name > >looks weird to me. To me Daniel B Jones looks slightly pretentious. So, a > >question for you over on the other side of the pond, why do you do it?> > > Winston S. Churchill (well, he was half American), Wm. Butler Yeats, > J.R.R.Tolkien (multiple middle names are fairly rare here!-- There was a > college classmate, British, Alastair X.Y.Z. Something, who was known as > Alastair5). > > Perhaps, in a large population, to distinguish one Dan Jones from the > others... Semi-legal requirements, such as bank and credit-card signatures. > The power of the bureaucracy. It does seem to be more 20th Cent. than 19th > or earlier. Custom? I've noted that Russians, in written work, tend to use > just their initials-- V.I.Lenin, N.S.Khrushchev, Yu. Kh. Sirk etc. In my case, using initials helps maintain a connection between my various aliases. My full legal name is Joel Matthew Pearson, but I go by Matt. How I choose to list my name depends on how 'intimate' the situation is, as well as the particular requirements of whatever form I'm filling out. I generally refer to myself as "Joel" in highly official situations where I wish to maintain a certain formality or distance--e.g., in dealing with credit card companies, student loan agencies, passport offices, etc.. In less formal, more familiar situations I refer to myself as "Matthew" or "Matt"--e.g., in dealing with my department at UCLA. On forms which require full first name, and give only a space for middle initial, I am necessarily "Joel M. Pearson". On other forms, where I am given some choice as to how to write my first and middle names, I opt for "Joel Matthew Pearson" or "J. Matthew Pearson". But I always include an initial: I can't expect people to figure out that Joel Pearson and Matthew Pearson are one and the same person, but if I list my name as Joel M. Pearson and J. Matthew Pearson, then there's some hope that people will make the connection. Matt.