My name is Abhijith S. Raj.

So is my surname S. Raj or just Raj?
(Note that my father's name is Sreeraj and that is why the S. Raj.)

  • 1
    The Wikipedia article on Indian name suggests that the use of surnames, patronymics, caste designations and toponyms, and their representation as initials, varies from one region or culture to another. If this is the case, I don't think this is a matter we can take up at all: it is a question of Indian practice which the English language does not address. – StoneyB on hiatus Sep 6 '15 at 11:08
  • @StoneyB I wan't to register on collegeboard. They do not allow full stops in their text box. So i don't know how i will type S. Raj. I am anxious as it has to be the same name as on the test paper to receive results – Abhijith S. Raj Sep 6 '15 at 11:26
  • Unhappily, there is no "rule" in the language for situations like this. My guess is that you should write your name as you always do, but omitting the full stop: ABHIJITH S RAJ. It is very common for official forms to ask for your 'middle initial'. But that is only a guess. Ultimately this is a question which only the people who designed the form can answer. – StoneyB on hiatus Sep 6 '15 at 11:42
  • I would describe whichever form - either "Raj" or "S. Raj" that is consistently passed down in your family from generation to generation as the surname. That being said, I will note that insofar as college applications go - including for Collegeboard materials - the exact form you choose to use (that is, "Raj" or "S. Raj") is not terribly important: what matters the most is that your application can be traced back to you. Thus, as long as you consistently use the exact same form of your name (as long as it's reasonable) across all application materials, you'll be fine. – Pockets Sep 6 '15 at 12:25

Is you father's name '****** S Raj' ? In that case, your surname would be 'S Raj'. However, when a person refers you, he wouldn't call you 'Mr. S Raj' right ? He would just call you 'Mr. Raj'. I'm an Indian and I too have the same problem. But I retained only my last name as my surname to fill out forms and I often get referred as just 'Mr. Nair' on my emails. So to avoid any confusion, you should use your surname as Raj.

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