what is the right way to call an Ameican?

China
April 18, 2007 10:51pm CST
Years ago, I saw an article written by a very prominent Chinese linguist, that it is very inappropriate to call an English or American man by his or her family name alone, e.g. if a man's name is Tommy Clark, we shouldn't say"hi, Clark!" but "hi, Tommy!"or "hi, Mr Clark!" I did so, but have found out more than once that native speakers don't seem to have this rule, at least in writing. So what do u think? u cannot call a man by his family name only, but u can write in that way?
2 people like this
2 responses
@callarse1 (4793)
• United States
19 Apr 07
Yes, you are right jumhuo2008, you need to use his/her first name and not family name. You will say: Tommy OR Mr. Clark, it sounds strange to just say the family name without anything in front. You could say his full name: Hello Tommy Clark. But not just the family name (sur name, last name). Have a nice day. Pablo
• United States
19 Apr 07
In a formal situation such as a business meeting you would call him Mr. Clark or a female Ms. Clark. If he/she outranks you, like your supervisor or boss at work, you call that person Mr. or Ms. Clark, if he/she decides to make things less formal then they will say "Please call me Tommy/Tammy." From then on you go by their wishes. If he/she does not specify, then continue to use the formal Mr./Ms. Clark. Men who are friends often call each other by their family name, an example would be "Hey Clark, you wanna go play some golf?" Women don't often call men or women just by their family name but sometimes. There's no set rules for friends but women usually prefer using people's first names. In writing it's pretty much the same. We don't have a lot of set rules except in formal occasions.. we go with the situation or what the person prefers. Hope that wasn't too confusing.