Open Thread

Welcome to the Etiquette Daily

This open thread is your space to use as you like. We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.


  1. Karen

    is it ever appropriate to use a nickname, middle initial, surname, as in
    Jim K. Smith?

    or would you only use the middle initial with the formal first name, as in James K. Smith?

    • Jody

      Karen, I don’t know what traditional etiquette dictates, but I think it looks better to use the middle initial only with the formal first name. On the other hand, if the other person uses the middle initial with his nickname (Jim K. Smith, in your example) I’d say it’s OK to use it with the nickname. All this assumes that you’re talking about informal notes/invitations, I’d use the full formal name on business letters or formal invitations.

  2. Joanna

    I would imagine the latter…after all, if you’re going for that level of “officialness,” wouldn’t you also go for the full formal first name?

    Then again, in today’s world there ARE a lot of people who have a legal first name that was once considered a nickname, i.e. Kate, Jim, Jack, etc. (I work in a school system, so I see it all the time.) If it’s someone else that you’re referring to, it’s highly possible that “Jim K. Smith” IS the full name.

  3. P. Wilson

    When a formal dinner is finished, where/how does one place the silverware to indicate your finished as opposed to “just resting?”
    Thank you.

  4. Akilan

    I was wondering. What are the appropriate gratuity amounts while on a cruise? The “suggested” rates are a far higher percentage than when on land. Is there a reason for this?

  5. Captain D A Bell

    With regard to the advice concerning Military Titles, I am at a loss to understand why one would consider it poor taste for a veteran to continue to bear the title. The same law that permits retired persons to do so, 10 US Code 772, specifically states also that persons who served honorably during wartime may bear the title of the highest rank held. It may be the case that the custom has fallen into disuse, but as we approach Veterans Day, perhaps we could take a second look at the subject. Is it possible that exercising a right under the law is ever in “poor taste”?

  6. Becky

    I don’t think it’s in poor taste for a Veteran to use their military title..and in fact I’ve never heard it mentioned. I can see where the use of the title may fall out of use somewhat (by the Veteran AND those that know them) the longer they are back in civilian life, particularly in the case of young retirees or those with short stints when younger. Perhaps those that feel it is in poor taste also have a political/moral agenda that skews their opinion I live in an area with 3 active bases and a high population of military it is very common to continue with using titles. Though I know some officers that prefer to drop titles when ‘off duty’ at home and in the community. They are proud of their service, but sometimes just want to ‘go native’

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