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If the father's name is Steve and the baby's is Steven, will the suffix Jr. or II apply? I've been told that the suffix ISS, which means 1½ in Roman numerals, can be used to help distinguish between the two of them. I worry that that would happen often.

–Halfway There

Junior and a Half? That’s a new one for this Name Lady. There's really no such thing as a half-junior. It's like a half-rhyme, or being a little pregnant. Either you are, or you aren't. And while it sounds like a clever option, ISS is just not a thing. It’s true that "SS" can be used to stand for ½ in Roman numerals; pharmacists do it. But no one else does. As a suffix for a person’s name, ISS looks like a degree or professional designation, in addition to being uncomfortably close to ISIS.

So let’s forget the ideas of ISS. It will only add to the confusion, not subtract from it. As for using Jr. or II, traditionally the name has to be an exact match. Junior is used for a son with the same name as his father; II for a child with the exact name as some other relative, such as a grandfather or uncle. The first, middle, and last names must be the same, which is why former President George W. Bush is not a junior to his father, President George H.W. Bush.

However, this is a matter of tradition, not law. If you think a Jr. would help clarify matters, you can go ahead and use it. Alternatively, you could use a different middle initial for father and son. That will help distinguish them in writing and on official documents: Steve P. Surname and Steven M. Surname. In everyday conversation, you have that extra "n" ending to help set the son apart from his dad.

Either way, there may still be some confusion. But a half-baked half-junior doesn’t solve that problem. It only makes it worse. Stick with tradition to sort out your Steves and you'll have more success.


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February 27, 2017 10:50 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Steve & Steven aren't the same name anyway, so if Steve is actually dad's given name (on the birth certificate) you've already got an answer to possible confusion. A different middle will also help.

And even with Sr/Jr or I/II in play, you still are going to have issues come up. Someone on the phone asking for "Steve" and your reply being Jr or Sr (because no one will call asking for Steve Sr. It's just as easy to ask "do you mean Steve or Steven" or "big Steve/little Steve" or what have you.

February 27, 2017 9:51 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

If you have a daughter, will you be giving her your name? Or is it just your husband who gets to pass down his first name?

March 1, 2017 1:44 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

What difference does that make to the question at hand? And why are you assuming she hasn't already?

March 3, 2017 2:38 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

To me, Steve and Steven are the same name. I'd feel free to use junior in this case.

March 5, 2017 12:32 AM
By Sabby (not verified)

I would not use ISS. i had to do a double take to make sure it wasn't ISIS.
I think different middle names is best. Your son is not a junior or a second. He is a similar name as his father, but not the exa name. Most people don't go by Junior, so it won't really solve your issue.
"Hi can I speak to Steve?"
"Junior or senior?"
"I don't know."
Just make sure your son never goes by Steve.

March 5, 2017 11:02 AM
By Juli (not verified)

I grew up with exactly the same name as my mother. Neither of us had a middle name. It only caused any real confusion when I was living at home after college (jury summons don't include a birthdate); before then, all the bank/government/official communications could be assumed to be referring to Mom. Family used different nicknames to tell us apart. It was fun or funny a lot more often than it was annoying. (In fact, I don't remember ever being annoyed by the shared name.)

Steve and Steven are the same name. Really. It's too late to give poor Dad the option of having the full name rather than just a nickname/short form, but it's not too late for his child, and putting the full Steven on the newer birth certificate doesn't make the child any less a "junior".

March 5, 2017 10:26 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I agree as far as suffixes are concerned, but a half-rhyme is totally a thing, think "orange" and "porridge."

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