When I write to other Americans about Chinese colleagues the name order is often confusing. As a made up example, (so as not to use a real person's name) if someone's name is Chiao Chien then even for someone who knows some Chinese family names it is impossible to tell from the spelling whether that has surname first, or given name first. Somewhere I learned a convention that you can write CHIAO Chien or Chien CHIAO to show the surname is CHIAO, no matter which order it is written.

But I do not know if this is a good convention.

Is this a good way to show which is the surname? Is there a better way (without simply saying explicitly each time which is the surname and which name order I am using)?,

  • 2
    It differs by country, language, culture and conventions. To use CAPS (or, preferably, ꜱᴍᴀʟʟ ᴄᴀᴘꜱ) is common in, for instance, French speaking countries. Some universities and journals also have such usage in their style guides. I would say, use whatever works, but know that it will backfire in certain circumstances, whatever you choose. Commented Jul 24, 2019 at 21:05

1 Answer 1


Yes,using capital letters is adopted in China journals now. I sometime use this comma style, like my name "Chen, Kui Fu".The word Chen before the comma is my surname, and what follows the comma is my give name, "Kui Fu". I think this style is very efficient in publishing papers

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.