最后更新时间: 2009年7月09日 格林尼治标准时间17:45更新
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Filling in Forms 填写表格
"Could you explain the difference between initials and family name when filling in a form? I would also like some general advice about filling in a form in English." - Rose Guo, Beijing

Listen to this programme first and then read the content below. 请先听节目然后再阅读以下内容。

Someone filling in a form

Rose from Beijing sent in this week’s question and she wants some advice on filling in forms in English. She came across items on a form she was filling in - initials and family name – and wants to know the differences between them.

Callum from BBC Learning English explained to us a little more about names in English. Everyone has a family name – the same name your other family members share. Family names are also known as last names or surnames.

Everyone also has a given name - that's the name your parents chose for you when you were born. This is also known as your first name, Christian name or sometimes on forms you’ll see it called a forename.

However in the UK, and in fact in many other countries, people also have middle names. This is a name your parents will also choose for you – it might be that there is a much-loved relative your parents want to name you after, or maybe there is a tradition that every boy in your family has that name. It could just be that your parents like the sound of that name with your first name. Middle names are only usually used on forms and official documents though.

Your initials are the first letters of your first, middle and family names. So if your first name is John, your middle name is Robert and your family name is Smith – your initials will be J.R.S. On forms you are often asked for your family name and initials, so John Robert Smith would be J.R. Smith. The actress Nicole Kidman’s full name is Nicole Mary Kidman – so her initials and family name are N.M.Kidman.

Some other things you might need to know when you fill in a form in English:-

- When you see the word title it means how you are referred to officially. If you are a man you will be Mr. - Mr. Yang for example. If you are a married woman you will be Mrs. and if you aren’t married you will be Miss. However, a lot of women think it is unfair that you can't tell if a man is married from his title but you can a woman. So Ms. was created for women who want to use it.

- You often see D.O.B. written on forms. This stands for date of birth – the day you were born.

- You might see the words ‘Print your name’ on a form next to your signature. Here, print means to write clearly – not in joined-up writing. Sometimes signatures are hard to read so you have to print your name so that your name can be easily read.

- You will probably be asked to write on a form in BLOCK CAPITALS. This means write every letter as a capital so that it is easier to read your form.

We hope that has cleared up your confusion Rose and given you some good advice to help you when filling in forms.

Why not send us your own question about English? You can email us at You might see your question answered on our website so get writing!

Glossary 词汇

Came across 遇到
initials 姓名打头的大写字母
family name 姓
given name 名
middle names 中间名
a much-loved relative 一位被大家喜欢的亲属
to name someone after somebody 因为某人而给另一个人起相同名字
official documents 正式文件
actress 女演员
title 头衔、尊称
referred to 把某人叫作...
officially 正式的、官方的
unfair 不公平
date of birth 出生日期
print your name 以印刷体书写你的姓名
signature 签名
joined-up writing 写字连笔
block capitals 大写字母
cleared up your confusion 为你解惑
get writing 现在就写


* 任意选择
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