Mar 5, 2019

Let's Discuss--Last Names as First Names

So I thought of another discussion post! This time it came to me when I read reading a review for a book I want to read and I have thought of this whenever it pops up in books and it's just something that gets on my nerves so I decided to vent about it! Lol!

Last Names Being Used as First Names

Okay, what I mean by this is when a character basically gets called by their last name. For example, I'm just going to make this up because I can't think of a legitimate one off the top of my head that I know for a fact, Tom Knox. He will henceforth be known as Knox. Why?! Why why why? Why give him a name Tom but then have it only be called Knox? What is the point of this? Just name him Knox if you like the name.

I don't know why this bugs me. Well, perhaps I do. I'm not at all attached to my last name for personal reasons. So I'd rather have no connection to it and would prefer to be just known by first name. That's what everyone calls me anyway. Plus I have looked into changing my name legally and it just seems like one big headache with wayyy too many things that I'd need to change and if I were to get married later on, then I'd have to do it all over again. No thank you! Lol.

A lot goes into naming a person. My sister thought long and hard over what to name her daughter and is now doing it again with her next child. A name has thought and meaning to it. Then to basically throw it away and take your last name as your given name just seems heartless almost. Granted I know that's not necessarily the case. When my brother-in-law was younger, he went by his last name. I remember my sister calling him that. He's since taken to being called by his given name, at least in the family!

I guess my aversion to my own last name and its connections makes my think poorly of book characters who decide to forgo their given name and take on their surname instead. It almost becomes hard to remember these particular characters' given names when they later pop up again. I'm usually thinking, who the heck is this?! Then it's like oh yeah...that's our hero! It can be aggravating!

In my own writing I barely even mention last names because I don't find them as important. Half the time they get something so generic that I think the majority of my first drafts of 3-4 different stories ended in -son, so that just goes to show you how little I think of last names! Lol. So to read books where a character constantly goes by their last name just tends to annoy me.

What about you guys? Does last names as first names bother you? Have you ever thought about it? I don't know why this bothers me as much as it does, but it's probably one of my biggest pet peeves about books, but of course it never stops me from reading those particular stories!


  1. It's like a nickname I think. I don't know many parents who call their kids by the last name. But I know a lot of friends and especially teammates who do. Usually not the persons choice either lol.

  2. When I saw the title, I thought you meant the very strange habit some folk have of naming their child with a surname, eg Taylor. I had two girls in one of my Year 8 English classes called Taylor! Lovely girls, both of them, by the way, and members of my lunchtime book club, so why were they stuck with that for a given name? But if you are a teacher, it’s likely the kids will call you sir or miss to your face and, male or female, Smith or Jones when discussing you, not Mr or Ms Smith.

  3. I definitely see what you're saying, but in some cases, it just fits. I know several people who I only refer to by their last names and have to think before I remember their first. Maybe it's a sign of authority, because these people are my bosses, but in other cases I think it can just be a nickname. I don't know. I don't read into it too much. Some people just have catchy last names that work as a first name.

    Emily @ Emily's Crammed Bookshelf

  4. Names are a mysterious thing. I do think that there are some people IRL who go by their last names, but it seems to be more common in books. Also maybe in sports environments?

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  5. I call my hubby by his last name. I met him in high school and there were three boys in his group of friends with the same first name. One was called by their name, one by a nickname and him by his last. If I say his first name, he knows I am annoyed by something. Plus growing up in a military family on a military base, a lot of folks were called by their last names.


Comments are an award all on their own! So my blog is an award free one! Thanks for any consideration though!