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why do we generally call people by their last names instead of first names?

Posted on April 15, 2011
Filed Under Bill Gates | 9 Comments

Question by Rishabh Singla: why do we generally call people by their last names instead of first names?
for example we call bill gates as “gates”, steve ballmer as “ballmer”, bill clinton as “clinton” and condoleezza rice as “rice”. even among friends, we all generally call each other by our last names, and feel more comfortable with this. why so?

Best answer:

Answer by Ms. Wizard
yall just cut like that

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9 Responses to “why do we generally call people by their last names instead of first names?”

  1. Kyle S on April 15th, 2011 3:03 am

    Some last names sound better or are easier to say than their first names, I guess.

  2. goldlust74 on April 15th, 2011 3:35 am

    i just call men mista’s

  3. on April 15th, 2011 4:18 am

    i dont call people by there lastnames only the first! sorry! i think its because some people forget there first names!!

  4. intel_knight on April 15th, 2011 5:15 am

    in US/UK English, last names are used for public figures only.
    Friends usually use first names between themselves.

  5. BBaller25 on April 15th, 2011 5:41 am

    For the first examples, it’s quicker, informal and there are many ‘Bills/Steves’ etc. And for friends, who knows maybe it’s just an identity within a group.

  6. geeky120493 on April 15th, 2011 6:18 am

    It’s easier to recognize who you’re talking about when you call them by their last names because last names aren’t as common as first names. There may be three Bob’s in one room, but they all have different last names, so you can use those and they’ll know exactly who you’re talking to.

  7. Belie on April 15th, 2011 6:48 am

    That’s generally reserved for famous people (though I prefer saying a person’s full name because, seeing as I do not know them personally, I think it’s rude to just call them singularly like we’re buddies). The only time I ever hear a person say my last name is when I’m in trouble (usually by a teacher). None of the people I know address friends by their last name outside of my Japanese class.

  8. myownworkchief on April 15th, 2011 7:01 am

    several reasons.. One for public Figures.. Two.. For good manners.. in todays society we learn to use and approach a person of a non close relation by their formal family name.. that being give another reason.. Three.. not too long ago, but some what a good time, you were called by your family’s name due to honor to your family, for superiority, for noblility, today is not so much that way for alot of us, but that culture have been stuck with us. another thing, is our last names are not as common as first so to address someone in a open room is easier by a unique(ier) name then a common such as most first names..

    now.. why do i call people by their last name?? cause for me personally is the right manner.. i dont like when people that i dont know to call me by my first name.. you call me by my Family name and then ill most likely say call me by my first name, dependin who you are and what kinda relation we have within each other. But i work with marketin, and open relations business- therefore in my company every single person that works for me are only allowed to use Last names!! Business is Business!! friendship is friendship!! business and friendships DOES not mix!! and i get used to only using last names.. those around me such as friends and friends parents cause i did opne my company at a very very young age, so i still am around friends parents, i call most of them by last names also, but a hand full by first names cuase i have a close relation with them.. but when it comes to Bill Gates, George W. Bush and everyone else.. we know them thru Business- business being MEdia!! the Media is but CANNOT call people of a high society by the first names due to MANNERS of our culture otherwise it looks bad for them cause they are being talked because of business.. so therefore those are some reason why we use Last names and not first to adress people.. hope i didnt loose you.. anything just email me!!

  9. Caicos Turkey on April 15th, 2011 7:45 am

    I find it very rude. Thirty years ago if you picked up a newspaper you would find that people were referred to as Mr or Mrs or Miss. Now they are simply referred to by their surnames, often by people who are their inferiors in status and intellect. Formerly the use of a surname in this way was full of social implications. Colleagues were allowed to address each other by their surnames as a mark of equality. That is perhaps the position in which you find yourself with your friends. Otherwise to address a person simply by his surname was an indication that you were talking down to him: examples included addressing convicted prisoners, servants, small boys in school. I can’t trace the beginnings of this strange social phenomenon, but I dislike it intensely on the part of the Press. I think, however, it has long been the tradition to refer to politicians, writers and artists by their surnames and strangely enough it doesn’t have the same connotations, giving the impression that these people are famous enough to be household names.

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