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what´s your name?
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what´s the most accurate and appropriate answer to that question?

Take into account the Anglo-speaking countries´ culture, please.

Guillermo
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Location: Rhode Island
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Hi Guillermo,

If the situation is informal, I'd typically reply with just my first name. I might just say "Amy", or I might say "My name's Amy".

If the situation is more formal, I'll give first and last name. "My name's Amy Smith."

If it is a very young child who asks, I'll probably say something like this: "My name's Mrs. Smith."
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Amazing Amy,

Talking about formal situations; what about answering by saying;

"My name´s Mary Anne Parker",

first, middle and last names???

Would you (as native English Speakers) ever reply: "My name is Ana María Poveda Quirós"?

I mean, first, middle, last and second last name???

Thanks in advance
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Please reply,

Amy, what do you think about my previous questions?

Thanks
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Location: Egypt
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It depends on the situation. If someone is asking me this while they're filling out a form, I might give all three names. But usually first and last name is enough.

In the example you gave, Mary Anne Parker, I would understand that Mary Anne is a compound name (two names in one). Compounds with "Mary" are common and might be spelled as one name or two -- Maryann, Marianne, Mary Anne, Mary Ann.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Okaasan, Co-Moderator,


Okaasan, Co-Moderator
(A native-speaking American with a Japanese nickname, living in Egypt)
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Location: Saudi Arabia
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quote:
If it is a very young child who asks, I'll probably say something like this: "My name's Mrs. Smith."


I was wondering why you would say so for a child but not for an adult. I feel it is very difficult, in my culture at least, for a child to call one by their surname. Isn't it difficult, too, for yours?


SmileIzzy loves you allSmile
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I see this difference in culture here in Egypt all the time, Izzy.

In some parts of the USA -- the South -- children might be taught to call adults by their first name but there would ALWAYS be a title of some sort before the name: Miss Violet, Mrs Petunia, Aunt/Auntie Rose, where "aunt/auntie" is a term of respect, not a literal sister of a parent. I believe that among African Americans (and maybe others?) children might be taught to say "Sister" or "Brother" with a first name to an adult that is of the same church.

The above information may be outdated, and a lot of it comes from reading novels set in the south.

Being a Yankee, I myself do not like the use of titles with first names, although I do hear it used sometimes in preschools, where the children address the teachers with a title and the first name. I'm really not sure if young children are taught to say the appropriate "Miss", "Ms" or "Mrs" or if everyone is just called "Miss" as they are in Egyptian schools.

The most polite and formal form is to call someone by their title and their last name, whether you are a child addressing an adult or an adult addressing another adult.

I don't understand why Egyptians -- and I guess Saudis too -- have difficulty using the surname with a title. Perhaps it's because in Egypt, at least, many people don't have a surname in the English sense of the word. They use their father's and grandfather's name. So if a woman is named Hala Mohamed Yusef, (Mohamed is her father's given name and Yusef is her grandfather's given name), it might sound awkward to Egyptians to call her Miss/Ms/Mrs Yusef, but that would be the correct English usage.

But this is just a difference in culture. "When in Rome, do as the Romans." So when speaking English, do as the English-speakers do -- at least if you're in their country.


Okaasan, Co-Moderator
(A native-speaking American with a Japanese nickname, living in Egypt)
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Yes, the cultural differences, and the status of the people who are interacting affect how the answer to the simple question of 'What's your name?" is answered.

Let's take the imaginative name of John Smith.

At a government office:
  • John Smith.

    At a party:
  • John (Smith). What's yours?

  • From a child to an adult:
    Mr. Smith.

    From an adult to a child:
  • John.

    And there are countless variations.

    It is more formal, and more polite, to use a title with a surname. Eventually, one person might tell the other to call him by the first name only, or that will just come about.

    As Okaasan notes, 'when in Rome, do as the Romans...' and that is the best advice.
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