What Are Initials? 12 Examples Of Name Initials (Complete Guide)

Initials are very important to understand as they’re used in a variety of important documents throughout one’s life. If you don’t know what initials are or how they work, you’ve come to the right place.

What Are Initials?

Initials are simply the first letter of a word. They are most commonly used with people’s names and should represent the first letter of the first name and the first letter of the second name. For example, John Smith would have JS initials.

What Are Initials?

You’ll come across initials plenty of times in English, especially anyone who has to fill in important documents. Documents often ask you to sign your initials directly after the place where you’ve signed your name and dated it.

Examples Of What Initials Are

We could teach you everything we know about initials, but it wouldn’t be much help if you don’t see them in action. We thought we’d show you some examples of how initials are used, as well as the names that those initials come from.

Remember, we must initial a name in its entirety. It’s no good only initially a first name or a last name. Both names must be included together. A typical initial is two letters long, though sometimes you can have more than that depending on the name.

  1. My name is Jack Preacher, and my initials are JP.
  2. If your name is John O’Sullivan, your initials can be JOS or JO, depending on your preference.
  3. I am called Steve Arnott, and my initials are SA.
  4. My initials are MO. My name is Matthew Oscar.
  5. Where do I find my initials if my name is Dean West? Is DW correct?
  6. You should initial all parts of your name. Patrick Stewart becomes PS.
  7. Matthew Bolton is initialed as MB.
  8. Make sure to initial your first name and last name, Roger Fox. That would make it RF.
  9. Mrs. Tonks’ initials are ST; I wonder what her first name could be. Sarah? Sam?
  10. My initials are AJ, and my first name is Alex. Can you guess my surname?
  11. The name is James Blond, though you can refer to me as JB.
  12. My initials are MS, and my name is Mary Sue.

We included as many names and examples as we could to show you when initials are used. Typically, we would know both the first name and the surname (second name) of the person if we’re initialing them, though we also only tend to give ourselves initials.

However, in the case of the teacher example (example 9), sometimes you will see an initial without knowing a full name. This leaves the name guessing to speculation, as an initial only gives away the first letter of a name and not the full name.

Are Initials Always First And Last Name?

Whenever you want to write initials, it always includes your first and last name. There are no other names that must be included for an initial to be authentic.

Most initials are two letters long because they are only a first and last name (AJ or BT). However, if the name has more than one word in it (usually indicated by a second capital letter), it’s possible to have three or more letters in the initial.

Let’s look at a few examples of what we mean:

  • My name is AJ Prince. My initials are AJP.

Here, AJ already has an initial in his first name. Usually, the J in an initial like this means “Junior,” as their mother or father share the same name as them. However, AJ also has to include his last name initial to be correct, so he has three initials in his name.

  • My name is John O’Peters. My initials are JOP.

Because the surname O’Peters uses two capital letters, it’s possible to see the initials of the full name be three letters in length. However, this is usually down to personal preference. Some people with “O’Peters” as a surname might only want to keep the O as the initial, while others want to keep the OP.

Is Initial Middle Name?

Whenever we’re using initials, we don’t typically include a middle name. There are a few exceptions, but most formal documents don’t require a middle name to be stated.

For example, if your name is “John Paul Goldberg,” your initials would be JG. You won’t need to include the P from Paul in your middle name. There is one exception to this rule, and that all comes down to personal preference again.

If you already initial your middle name when you introduce yourself (i.e., John F. Kennedy or Lyndon B. Johnson), then you can put those initials in your name. JFK and LBJ were both US Presidents who used their middle initial.

The tradition to use a middle initial when writing your initials is an American tradition, and it doesn’t typically happen anywhere else in the world. However, if you want to use your middle initial, there is nothing wrong with doing so – it’s just not common.

How Do I Write My Initials?

Let’s go over a quick guide to writing your initials. If you’ve been asked to do so, it can’t be much simpler than this!

  1. Write your full name.
  2. George Patrick Johnson.
  3. Remove your middle name if you don’t use the initial.
  4. George Johnson.
  5. Find the first letter of your first name and remove the rest.
  6. G Johnson
  7. Now find the first letter of your second name and remove the rest.
  8. G J
  9. Now put the two initials together. There doesn’t need to be a space between them.
  10. GJ

How Do I Write My Initials And Surname?

Sometimes, you might see initials used for only one name. If this is the case, you’ll always see the first name initialed, but the last name will be written out in full.

For example, a writer might sign their work “L. Bury.” If the writer’s first name is Lucian, then we can see how they’ve initialed it to show only “L.”

But why do writers do this?

Well, it’s not just writers that address themselves in this way. It’s actually common practice for a lot of people in the arts industry. For example, an artist might sign their work to say P. Picasso, or a playwright might write W. Shakespeare.

The reason this is done is as a sign of recognition. Most people will be familiar with the writer that they’re reading from or the artist they’re looking at the art of. If you’re famous enough in your own circle of art, then people won’t need to know your full name.

For that reason, it’s common to see the first name initialized when written. Your last name is more than enough to recognize you with when you’re well-established in your respected field. For newer writers and artists, it’s best to write your full name, so people know who you are before trying to remove some of your initials.

What To Write If A Form Asks For Your Initials

The most common place you might find something asking for your initials is on a form or a contract of some kind. You’ll typically see it look as follows:

Signature:Put signature here




You’ll almost always write your full name out and then include the initials afterward. It just helps to streamline the form-filling process and helps with the analysis of the form on the back-end.

How Do You Punctuate Initials?

You don’t always need to punctuate initials. It’s actually more common to leave your initials without any punctuation. However, some people like to show a difference between the two letters that separate their names with periods.

  • DE
  • D.E.

Both of these forms of initials are correctly punctuated. It’s up to you which form works best for you, but most people like to use it without periods because it saves time.

It’s worth quickly mentioning that if you follow the writer’s method above where the first name is initialed, but the last name is spelled out, you always want a period at the end of that.

  • D. Edwards

This is because your spelling out the last name after the initial, so it’s good to separate the two with a period and a space.

Do You Put Periods Between Initials?

As we’ve already said, it’s up to you how you want to punctuate your initials. The most common form of punctuation uses periods between initials. If that looks good to you, then we recommend you use it!

Most people leave the periods out and only write the two letters when they initial their name.

Why Do Writers Use Initials?

Writers use initials when for two reasons.

They are either already well-established writers whose initials are recognizable to the people familiar with their work. They might also use them because they want to save time, and it’s quicker to write two letters than it is to write a full name.

How Do You Write Juniors Initials?

We briefly touched on this earlier, but if you share the same name with your child (or vise versa), you may want to know what their junior initials are.

  • If you’re called Andy, and your son is called Andy, his name will be Andy Junior.
  • Andy Junior is initialed to be AJ.
  • If you include the surname after this, you simply add the next initial onto AJ.
  • AJT works as a good initial. (If your last name begins with T).