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let say, we got the name "Stephen Hawking" and we often heard "Prof Hawking" and not "Prof Stephen"?

in Asia, we always use first-name (or given name) after title.

is surname often put after title like Prof or Dr?

  • In the West, we don't say, for example, Teacher Joe like you guys say in Asia. Here we either use the surname or the 'full name' together, after titles. (By 'full name' I mean 'first name' and/or 'middle name' and/or the initials thereof plus the surname.) – user6951 Mar 14 '15 at 13:02
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    In Asia, do you always use the first name or the family name? I know that, in much of Asia, the first name is the family name, while in Europe and the US (and most of the West), the family name is second. – Catija Mar 14 '15 at 13:03
  • depend on the country, sometimes fname come first sometimes come last. My question say fname means fname regarding of the order. – Tom Mar 14 '15 at 13:11
  • You might want to use the term "given name" then, to reduce confusion. :) You might also consider mentioning which country you're from because I know that in Japan, for example, it's very uncommon to use given name for anyone you don't know well. – Catija Mar 14 '15 at 13:12
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Formally, we use last names (family names) after titles such as Dr. or Prof.:

Professor Smith and Doctor Jones will attend the conference next week.

Using a first name instead of a last name is unusual. It would be regarded as somewhat playful, and often denotes familiarity. You wouldn't see it in formal writing, but you do sometimes see it with celebrities:

Most Wednesday mornings, I watch Judge Judy right after Dr. Phil.

(In the U.S., both Judge Judy and Dr. Phil are syndicated television programs.)

I've never heard anyone refer to Stephen Hawking as "Professor Stephen." The only context I could think of where that might be appropriate is with one of his graduate students, and, even then, the student would have had to build up a very strong rapport with his esteemed advisor (unless, of course, Dr. Hawking prefers to be on a first-name basis with all of his students). But, in English, that's not the way we normally refer to Nobel laureates and other greats.

I would say that using a title with a first name is akin to using other informal nicknames such as "Doc". In most situations, I'd avoid being the first to use such language; it could be considered impolite depending on the circumstances. However, I've known a few folks who have been uncomfortable with formal titles, and prefer something more informal on a face-to-face basis.

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    The only time I can think it's really common (other than on those shows you mentioned) is in daycare classrooms for young children, they will often call their teacher Miss. Anna or Mr. John. It gives them a bit of formality without using family names. – Catija Mar 14 '15 at 13:09
  • @Catija - I hadn't thought of that, but you are exactly right. – J.R. Mar 14 '15 at 13:13
  • Thank JR, they didn't teach this in English textbook in Asia – Tom Mar 14 '15 at 13:16
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    And a few holders of old feudal titles are referred to by TITLE+FORENAME: Queen Elizabeth and Prince Andrew, Lord Jack and Lady Jill for younger sons and daughters of peers, Sir Laurence and Dame Edna are all proper. – StoneyB Mar 14 '15 at 13:58
  • Another circumstance where I've seen Dr. + FIRSTNAME is in a medical or dental practice where multiple doctors have the same last name (e.g. brothers, father and son, etc.) The staff will say "Dr. Brian" or "Dr. Mark" to distinguish the two. – coneslayer Mar 14 '15 at 16:34

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