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I have to fill some official paperwork, and realize that they are asking me my full name, including middle name.

Being French, the system is a bit different because there is not really any middle name, but several given names ("prénoms").

It seems like in the US, people expect a single middle name, so it is unclear what to use as THE middle name when you have multiple given names.

Let's consider someone whose given names are "Alexis, Bernard, Charles" and last name "Ducatel", how do you derive the middle name, and from that the full name in official US format?

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migrated from french.stackexchange.com Aug 5 '14 at 8:49

This question came from our site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the French language.

When a US form asks for "full name", it means the sequence of names as written on your birth certificate or other official documentation (such as passport). In your case, your first name (usually the name you are known by) is the "first name" and your remaining prénoms would be the "middle name(s)". In your example:

  • First name: Alexis
  • Middle name(s): Bernard Charles
  • Surname: Ducatel

It is not uncommon for Americans to have more than one middle name, and this is how it would be filled in on a form.

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Just curious, how does this work if your official name doesn't match your regular name? Like William who is publicly known as Bill. – Ton Plomp Aug 8 '14 at 8:33
@TonPlomp: I know this isn't a great answer, but it depends on how "official" the form is. My full first name is Gregory, but I usually only use that for government identification like drivers license or tax forms (it matches my birth certificate). For other things like a phone bill or car insurance, I just use Greg. – Greg Hewgill Aug 8 '14 at 10:13

I have two middle names (I'm from the UK, living in the US), and I have this problem. My solution is to write in both middle names if I can, and if not, just put the first. I find that official forms often ignore the second middle name (the third prename) - even if I add it to the form, when I get (say) a letter back, the second is dropped. Similarly forms ask for middle initial - I just put the first.

This approach has not cause me any problems, at least for the past 8 years I've been here.

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