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December 18, 2006


Ray Ward

A related question: Why the comma between the last name and Jr. or Sr.? Seems to me that the Jr. or Sr. is a restrictive modifier; the comma denotes just the opposite: a non-restrictive modifier. (Bryan Garner addresses this question in Garner's Modern American Usage, p. 538.)


Ray, you are right. I used the form Chris used in the original question. The norm these days is to leave out the comma but to respect individual preferences. Of course, respecting preferences means using the comma before (and after) "Jr." or "Sr." if the individual uses it.

I am very impressed with your knowledge of these fine details!




My husband is a Junior so if he's typing out his full name (Charles H. Walkling, Jr.)should he use the comma or is it really a matter of personal preference? Also I've noticed that many people do not use the period after, either. Again, a matter of preference?


Terry (female!)


Hi, Terry. Please see the comment just above yours.

As for the period, I am unaware of any leeway. Like Mr., Mrs., etc., the abbreviation has a period.


What is the correct way to list a married couple using both of their first names when the man is a Jr. or Sr.? Such as Mr. John Smith, Jr. and his wife Mrs. Mary Smith. Is it Mr. John, Jr. & Mrs. Mary Smith or is it Mr. John & Mrs. Mary Smith, Jr.?


When you say "list," I'm not sure how you are going to list the names. That may make a difference. For a letter, you would use "Mr. and Mrs. John Smith Jr." and "Dear Mr. and Mrs. Smith."

Victoria H. Molina

How do I write the Jr. or Sr.if the family name comes first please? I want to be clarified.


Hi, Victoria. Please give an example of what you want to write.

Perhaps you are referring to an alphabetical list:

Smith, John, Jr.
Velasquez, Juan C., Sr.

If those examples are not helpful, please write again.

Darlene Dionne

How do I punctuate a letter or email to John Smith, Sr and his son John Smith, Jr in the same letter?
Dear John Sr and John Jr,
Dear John and John
Dear John, Sr. and John, Jr.,

Ubirajara de Oliveira Costa Junior

My name is UBIRAJARA DE OLIVEIRA COSTA JUNIOR (as in my birth certificate). In Brazil we do not fill in forms with family and given names in separate fields. For this purpose, we usually have one unique field called NOME COMPLETO (= full name). The problem raises when I have to split my name into two different fields, as is the practice in English forms.
How can I do that? I usually write: FAMILY NAME: DE OLIVEIRA COSTA and GIVEN NAME: UBIRAJARA, JR.
Is that correct?
Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

I agree with your solution. It makes perfect sense.



How do I put a married couples name on a certificate when the man is a Jr. Do I write John, Jr. and Mary Smith or John and Mary Smith, Jr.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Liz, here are some workable options:

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith Jr.
Mary and John Smith Jr.
John Smith Jr. and Mary Smith


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