As someone from a culture in which the first name comes last and the last name comes first, it was always difficult for me to figure out how to correctly specify my name in an email.

For example, say my name is 'Xu Gildong', where Xu is my family name and Gildong is my first name. If I sign my email like this:


Xu Gildong

then the recipient would address me as "Mr. Gildong" in his/her reply. This brings an awkward situation where I may have to correct the sender that Xu is my correct surname.

An alternative is to sign my name according to the Western1 order, like:


Gildong Xu

but one cannot help but desire to sign their name in its correct order.

Is there any clever way I can (perhaps implicitly) state the fact that the surname comes first in my signature?

1Forgive my generalization for the sake of simplicity. That statement is not necessarily correct since Hungarian names also follow the 'Eastern order' of names.

I found a highly relevant question. The answers are very thoughtful, yet they do not solve the problem completely to me for the following reasons.

Solution 1: adding 'Please call me [my first name]' in a message.

Of course, this is the most direct approach to my problem. However, I am worried that this solution is not applicable to every situation, especially where the email exchange is in a very formal setting.

Solution 2: Use capital letters for my surname.

Indeed, signing 'XU Gildong' would help other people recognize that my last name is XU. I have tried this, but people seemed to believe that the two-consecutive-capitals were just a typo, not a way to specify my last name.

(User edit: OP specified that their last name was only 2 letters long, so I chose an Asian 2-letter-long last name to make the problem easier to understand; the question read fairly awkwardly and I think a lot of answers were missing a large part of the problem because of this)

  • 43
    For reference, I personally would not understand that all-caps'ing HONG would imply that to be used as a last name / pronounced after the other one. I would just think it was odd and move on. D:
    – schizoid04
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 9:21
  • 7
    This is such a great question. By the way, I for one would not have known that Solution 2 of capitalizing the name that appeared first was meant to indicate that it was the surname.
    – Ryan
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 12:10
  • 16
    Instead of using the terms "first name" and "last name", you should use "given name" and "family name". Commented May 30, 2022 at 12:59
  • 5
    @Ryan it's a widely used convention with international correspondence. Although Westerners don't use it. Mostly used if the last name comes first so... KONG Fui..... but.... John Smith.... wouldn't need to make the distinction
    – Kilisi
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 18:40
  • 14
    @Kilisi I've been working with international coworkers for 20+ years and I've never seen a full caps last name. It may be used by some people, but its not as widespread as you think. Commented May 31, 2022 at 3:13

17 Answers 17


Companies that are serious about collecting/knowing the names of their customers and addressing them properly in correspondence have already encountered this problem and established a best practice: Rather than to assume English convention that the first name is the given name and the last name is the family name (if family names are even used; see e.g. Icelandic names), and thus ask for first name, last name, and any middle names, the accepted way of handling this question in forms (such as when users sign up to use a website and must provide their name) is to simply ask for full name and preferred name of address, regardless of whether the preferred name is even part of the full name. For example, Hank Green of the Vlogbrothers, if signing up to a service that required his full legal name, would specify full name as "William Henry Green" and preferred name as "Hank".

As such, I would effectively carry this practice over to email/letter writing and provide the same two pieces of information in your valediction, in whatever format you please, e.g.

Hong Gildong
(Preferred/given name: Gildong)

  • 3
    So far I believe this is the best solution. Indeed, adding "Please call me X" in the signature also achieves the desired effect, however then the question of what is my actual last name still remains. This answer provides such information with similar word count. Although I was looking for more implicit way of stating my last name, as Steve remarked above perhaps there is no way around other than explicit statements. I will wait for potential further discussion on your answer and accept this answer if I am assured that this is the best strategy for everyone in a similar situation. Commented May 30, 2022 at 0:17
  • 1
    @JustOneCupOfCoffee Why not just rephrase "Please call me X" as "Please call me by my given name: X"? Or if you prefer the opposite: "Please call me by my family name: Y"
    – Will
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 4:20
  • 4
    Signing with "Preferred name: Gildong" only works if Gildong is the preferred name. I have many Chinese friends who prefer not to be called by their first name, except by close family and very close friends.
    – Stef
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 9:46
  • 2
    I just accepted this answer -- it should be noted that not only him but also many others suggested similar solutions of leaving some explanatory remarks in the automatic email signature. Each answer included different variations of explanations but I am sure the readers would be able to come up with what fits to their needs, as I did, after browsing all the materials here. The reason for accepting this answer was that I liked his argument of this being the best practice considering what already established businesses are doing, such assertion being debatable nevertheless. Commented May 31, 2022 at 23:36
  • 1
    Probably worth noting for posterity that "Companies that are serious about ... addressing them properly" are familiar with this helpful list: Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names on Kalzumeus
    – Theodore
    Commented Jun 2, 2022 at 13:49

Just one more suggestion I don’t see mentioned. Sign your email with the name you’d like people to call you and put your full name below.

Best wishes,
Mr. Hong
Hong Gildong
Director of Cultural Affairs
Hong Industries

  • 37
    I like this because it aligns with the very common convention of signing an email in the way you'd like the recipients to address you. (In particular, if you sign an email with your given name, it's a signal that the recipients may address you by that name.)
    – David Z
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 22:09
  • 29
    For a good example of this in action, if someone said "Kind Regards, Jay" when their signature said "Jason Smith", I'd probably start my response with "Hi Jay" rather than "Mr Smith". Commented May 30, 2022 at 7:01
  • 16
    "Sign your email with the name you’d like people to call you" <- In many cultures, the name you call yourself in a signature is not the name people should call you. Using the former for the latter may come off as conceited or self-flattering.
    – einpoklum
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 8:42
  • 28
    @Currie Gregory What? It is hardly "conceited" to want people to say your name correctly. Commented May 30, 2022 at 11:27
  • 10
    In some cultures/contexts/professions, particularly when status/position is asymmetric, one signs "Gonzalez", or even simply "Roberto", but it is expected to address such person as "Dr. Gonzalez", while asking to be called that would be utterly un-humble/immodest. So, YMMV. :-)
    – Pablo H
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 13:29

The shortest email footer or closing which could help, if the common case you find is people writing back to "mister FirstName", might be this:

Thank you,
  Hong Gildong
  ("Mr. Hong")

People used to assembling "Mr." to what they assume are last names will (if they read this line) likely figure out what you want quickly, and it should not come across as rude at all.

Some people may still think Hong is your first name and you wish to be called "Mister FirstName", but even in that case they'll be getting it right if they use your example, they'll likely know they should not be using "Mister Gildong", and if/when they ask about your name, the explanation should be quicker and simpler.

  • 47
    Also has a good side effect of declaring your title, which may be difficult for the other party to guess. Commented May 29, 2022 at 11:47
  • 6
    This device is sufficient for people who are actually aware of cultural differences in name order. But for those who aren't aware, and many won't be, it is not only going to be confusing, but has the potential to seem ridiculous, as if signing off as "James Bond ("Mr James")".
    – Steve
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 12:04
  • 20
    @Steve people generally worry more about causing offence than whether a requested name seemed "ridiculous". If you put ("Mr James") at the end of your email, I'm happy to call you Mr James. It doesn't matter that I'm used to seeing a last name after a title, I understand what you want me to call you, and I'm reassured that I won't accidentally cause offence. This goes double if I don't know a lot about your culture.
    – Clumsy cat
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 12:48
  • 7
    @Steve why do we need an explanation on name order? Short of buying you an aeroplane ticket it likely doesn't matter. All I need is the correct way to refer to you. "Mr James" is actually more useful than an explanation of name ordering, you have given me your honorific and preferred name,
    – Clumsy cat
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 14:16
  • 8
    @Clumsycat, because if you don't explain it, most English speakers simply won't understand what you're on about. These days they might even think "call me Mr James" is some sort of clumsy foreign way of declaring gender, and they'll then proceed to call you James.
    – Steve
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 15:00

As a Hungarian whose language also suffers from the same problem, the convention is that we sign in the order of the language the email is written. Not only is this reasonable, but it's the least confusing way. I reccommend you to do the same.

So if I write an email in Hungarian, I sign it as

... [Hungarian text]


Nagy Gergely

But if I write it in English (or any western-ordered language), then

... [English text]


Gergely Nagy

Kind of along the "in Rome, behave like Romans" philosophy. Any other option would be confusing, and would involve the need for a clumsy explanation (either in the email or the signature) that only adds to the clutter, and isn't related to the topic of the email at all.

Don't make a big deal of it unless explicitly needed (like in an application).

  • 2
    As German, I accept my name in both orders (though Beleites Claudia has a decidedly southern/Bavarian feel). But when I write a business email in English (and in particular to North Americans), the signature will be "Claudia" (given name) whereas in German, the signature will often be "C. Beleites" or "Claudia Beleites" since business communication often calls for a more formal language register in German that doesn't go with with Firstname (often even if in oral communication I'm on first name terms with the recipient). To me, it's one of the things that get translated. Commented May 31, 2022 at 10:18
  • 7
    To the OP, @JustOneCupOfCoffee, I think you are a Chinese based on the example in the question. I am a Chinese, too. I had been in the US for over 30 years. I always do the way this answer suggests.
    – Nobody
    Commented May 31, 2022 at 14:20
  • 4
    I'm baffled I had to scroll down so much before finding this answer. It isn't bigotry to expect people communicating in a specific language to follow the norms of the culture behind that language in order to avoid confusion. The simplest and most accurate answer is to sign given name first, then family name as those are the first and last names when communicating in English. If you really want a compromise, sign in your native language first, then in parentheses sign in English with the proper order in each respective language. Seems awkward from Hungarian, but not as much from Chinese.
    – V. Sim
    Commented May 31, 2022 at 21:30
  • 2
    It's worth noting that Chinese is a bit different from Hungarian in that people are regularly addressed with their full name, especially if both the given name and family name is single-syllable. Reversing the order may feel more awkward to Chinese people than to Hungarians (who are very used to doing precisely what you describe here).
    – Szabolcs
    Commented May 31, 2022 at 21:46

Use a comma:

Yours Sincerely,
 Bond, James

The comma typically implies that the first name is the surname.

PS. Having said that, I would only do this in such 'placeholder' situations (i.e. in letters and forms), not in the middle of a spoken sentence. I.e. I wouldn't say "my names is Bond, James." as it feels unnatural (which is why James Bond always goes "Bond, James Bond").

  • Combining this with an uppercase family name, like "XU, Gildong" will maximize the chance of people getting it right without adding explicit instructions. But I fear that if a family-name-first construct appears anywhere eventually someone will use it as a given name. Commented May 31, 2022 at 12:50
  • 4
    How does this not have more upvotes??? I was about to write the same answer but decided to trudge through all 17 answers. The issue at hand is an English punctuation issue more so than a cultural issue.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented May 31, 2022 at 13:47
  • 1
    @Josh Rambut The uppercase thing might work for known names (BOND, James), but for short and/or foreign names, it might be still confusing (see the top comment under the question). In a letter, I personally would confuse the "XU" with a work title/position. I mean like "Yours Sincerely, CEO, James Bond".
    – akwky
    Commented May 31, 2022 at 14:48

If for whatever reason you aren't willing to adopt Western name order, and if you are writing emails, I would suggest putting an explanatory note in the signature.

For example:

Neumann Janos
(Janos is my first name, see Hungarian names)

I can't see any other way the problem would be tackled.

  • 25
    You wouldn’t adopt a western name order, because it is just wrong. And asking someone to change the way their name is written is utterly rude.
    – gnasher729
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 13:48
  • 46
    @gnasher729, I don't think it's unreasonable at all if corresponding in English, which is a language foreign to the writer in this case. Either way, you can't just say things in whatever order you want and expect to be understood - cross-cultural differences would have to be addressed explicitly and negotiated. In English, personal name comes first in order, surname comes last in order. Otherwise what next, "man bites dog" really means "dog bites man"?
    – Steve
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 14:44
  • 11
    @Steve It is conventional in English prose (such as articles and letter writing) to respect the conventions of the subject when writing their full name, regardless of any differences from English's "<given names> <family name>" order. Of course, individuals are free to ask that you do things differently, e.g. Nintendo of America has a company-wide policy of putting the given name of Japanese Nintendo employees first (as in Shigeru Miyamoto, Satoru Iwata, Shuntaro Furukawa), despite that not agreeing with Japanese convention, which is otherwise respected in English (as in Katsushika Hokusai).
    – Jivan Pal
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 16:36
  • 10
    @JivanPal, I'd say the convention in English is very much first name first. You're actually referring to a small number of exceptions conducted by informed professionals or journalists (who write public articles or letters), rather than being familiar to native English speakers in general.
    – Steve
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 17:40
  • 25
    My partner, also Hungarian, gave up decades ago trying to put her name the native way round. She just uses English convention. 'When in Rome...'
    – Tetsujin
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 18:21

Could you not just actually write that in an email footer that's automatically applied to every email you send (or emails you choose to attach it to)? That seems to me like it would be both clear and polite; no need to try to imply it. You can just tell people. By making it an obviously standard email footer, you're also not telling any one specific person, so nobody feels like they're being corrected specifically.

Something that would look like (with substituted correct terms in the angle-bracket parts):


Hong Gildong

"Hong" is my <family name / surname>, and Gildong is my < given > name. In < culture >, names are written with the <family name / surname> leading.

  • 2
    There are three consecutive answers that suggest clarifying the matter in the automated email signature. Yet, the first one (this one), got very few upvotes. Could someone explain why they upvoted either succeeding two but not this one? Sometimes, the upvoting really confuses me. Commented May 29, 2022 at 18:24
  • 1
    @MichaelMcFarlane One of the others got upvoted first (by chance, or slight preference in how the idea was presented). From that point forward, it was nearer the top of the list, and thus more likely to be read (and voted on) first. And some people stop reading before reaching this one, so the rich get richer.
    – Ray
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 18:42
  • 1
    There are still people reading automated email signatures? I stopped paying attention to them 20+ years ago.
    – Abigail
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 20:32
  • 2
    It's unfortunate that the default sort order is most-votes-first so that it only takes one person's vote to bump another answer above this one and then everyone else just piles onto it since it's the one they see first. Commented May 29, 2022 at 23:09
  • 1
    Both this answer and this answer convey the proper intent without explanation. It also assumes something about your intended audience that you feel compelled to explain to them (eg: no foreigners understand my culture) which could create a negative bias. If you've watched some British shows, you often see superiors calling subordinates by their last name. I don't know if that's still a common practice but is not a North American practice.
    – Ian W
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 0:06

Just correct them if you feel the need. There is nothing wrong with that.

I would actually find it strange for anyone to address me as Mr. Lastname in an email. So I'm not sure what sort of people you're dealing with, most people are well aware of the Eastern name conventions.

But at the end of the day you give leeway to people who're not part of your culture and it makes no sense to make any drama about things like this.

  • +1 "Just correct them" should also apply to mispronunciations, misspellings, missgendering and any other name related mistake. It's good to do it early though, people are less embarrassed if you corrected them first time they get it wrong rather than after getting it wrong all year.
    – Clumsy cat
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 12:59
  • Also, be prepared to keep correcting people. Generally others don't care as much about your name, title, pronouns, spelling, pronunciation, as you do. Commented May 30, 2022 at 8:53
  • I'd add that the phrasing can be simply "PS: my last name name is Y"; or "PS: my first name is X"; or "PS: my last name is Y, but you can call me X" at the end of the next mail. It's straightforward, it's factual, and you allow your speaker to correct themselves, and to switch to a less formal address if they want to. Commented May 30, 2022 at 9:13
  • 1
    "most people are well aware of the Eastern name conventions" Are most people aware of that? Maybe those that often work with Eastern cultures, but if people have never interacted with anyone that used such a name convention, I doubt they'd be aware. I personally never even gave it a second thought until I saw this question and I doubt anyone I work with would be aware of it.
    – Dnomyar96
    Commented May 31, 2022 at 6:32
  • @Dnomyar96 I don't know your locale, but people in some locales certainly don't seem to know much about the outside World. Eastern naming conventions cover a huge swathe of the World.
    – Kilisi
    Commented May 31, 2022 at 9:22

I strongly agree with AffableAmber's answer but would like to add one additional note: I'm going to make the maybe somewhat controversial claim that in an American workplace environment,


Hong Gildong

Is almost always the wrong way to sign your email.

It is usually the case in American workplaces that people address each other by first names, but this is not always true. Depending on the environment, profession, and nature of your relationship, a title and family name may be the more appropriate form of address. Unfortunately, this means that what is correct can be hard to know, and as such you should always sign your email in the way you would like to be addressed by the recipient of the email.

This means that you should be choosing between one of "Gildong," "Mr. Hong," "Dr. Hong," etc. Which one you choose might depend on the person you are sending the email to - that is normal and expected. It would be unusual for anyone to address you by your full name, and so you should not sign your email with it either.

If you would still like to include your full name in the email somewhere (which is totally reasonable) you can include it in the full signature at the end as AffableAmber suggested, ideally also including your title and pronouns (if appropriate for your culture).

  • I agree, I use: Sincerely, <new line> Josh <new line> <blank line> Joshua Rumbut. Then I have the rest of the signature material. Commented May 31, 2022 at 12:45




(Hong Gildong)

Though I note that a similar answer was already suggested in the previous question that you reference, so I'm not sure if you've already considered that approach and found it lacking.

  • 14
    Just by the way, when I read that, I thought "Why would you sign with your last name". Commented May 29, 2022 at 11:43
  • 44
    Realistic interpretation of this approach: "Bond (James Bond)".
    – Steve
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 11:59
  • 9
    I see this as stressing Gildong, like, "wow, this guy really likes his last name".
    – user134121
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 13:43
  • @Steve Bond doesn't use parentheses though. He says "Bond. James Bond." It's an entirely different vibe ;-)
    – G_B
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 12:09

When you know your correspondent pretty well, you can use your preferred order, which feels natural to you. However, when you are writing to a new acquaintance, in English, it is advisable to follow the standard format used in English-speaking countries. If your email to the new acquaintance calls too much attention to an unusual way of formatting a name, that could detract from the actual content of the email.

  • 8
    If the reader knows that first- and lastname are in different order in culture of the writer of the email then he/she might assume that the traditional order is used and use the names in the wrong way. Commented May 29, 2022 at 10:18
  • @daniel.heydebreck - Right, this approach is not 100% foolproof, but if the person is that enlightened, then they will hopefully understand and forgive the author having taken the standard-in-English approach. Commented May 29, 2022 at 21:40
  • 2
    @aparente001 This is basically the two generals problem. If both sides attempt to accommodate each other cultural expectations, or assume the other will, it's basically a 50/50 chance that there will be a misunderstanding. Commented May 30, 2022 at 8:59
  • @GregoryCurrie - I would hope that those that are aware of this potential will watch for it, check for mutual understanding, and forgive when a misunderstanding has occurred. Commented May 30, 2022 at 21:19

Indeed, signing 'HONG Gildong' would help recognize other people that my last name is HONG

Capitalizing the last name is the norm in France and, as weird as it may look the first time, it helps immensely. We have plenty of people called Pierre Paul and it would be up to the reader to guess which one is the first and last name. Pierre PAUL solves the issue.

I made an answer instead of comment because of the order of your example (HONG Gildong).

At least in Europe, it is more common first to list the first name, and then the last name. If you are writing for this population, it would be helpful to sign as Gildong HONG instead.

Not only does it keep the natural sequencing, but people will expect the last name (even an exotic one, from the perspective) in the second bit. This hold for two letters surnames: Gildong ZU would not be surprising.

  • I agree that capitalising the family name is the norm. However: I disagree with "At least in Europe, it is more common first to list the first name, and then the last name." In France, on letters, family names are more often listed before first names. On forms, family names are more often listed before first names. On lists, such as a list of employees or a list of students, family names are more often listed before first names.
    – Stef
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 9:52
  • I'd also add that there are quite a number of Asian immigrants and people with Asian names. Personally I'd be more confused if someone with a Chinese name listed their family name second than if they listed it first.
    – Stef
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 9:54
  • @Stef: I agree with the official documents, but OP question was about signing their letters. I do not know anyone who would sign/introduce themselves as "Bonjour, Dupont Jean (shaking hands)"
    – WoJ
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 10:00
  • @Stef: about Asian immigrants - they all sign first last. This is the norm with the generation that starts to take French first names. You probably have much more contacts with Asians than the statistical population who would not expect an Asian name to be different from our, in terms of expected order.
    – WoJ
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 10:04
  • This is an incredibly France-focused answer. As a non-French person who started working a couple of years ago for a French company all the automated systems are set up to capitalize names like this. Due to this system France is also happy to put the last name very often in front of the first name in many lists, thus you get the situation where as a non-French person I mistook first and last names of non-team members for the first couple of months. Plus it makes it hard to know how to spell names (e.g. colleague's last name is MCFADDEN, still don't know whether that's McFadden or Mcfadden). Commented May 31, 2022 at 4:55

You could get inspiration from what is done in bibliographies of scientific papers where both variants are used depending on the journal/conference style.

Hong G.


G. Hong

In both cases, I believe everybody will understand that Hong is your last name.

  • 24
    I'm not sure "Hong G." would be completely clear. If there are two Davids in a team, it's not uncommon to see them referred to as "David R" and "David B" to disambiguate.
    – cloudfeet
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 10:41
  • @cloudfeet Well, OP asks about "specify my name in an email". Moreover, if the email comes from Hong Glidong, I think it will be pretty clear. Finally, in the situation you mention, there is a clear intention to mention only first name, which does not seem to be what OP is asking for.
    – Surb
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 10:57
  • Right - my point is that the person receiving the email doesn't know which situation they're in. They might think "Hong" is the first name, and you're formatting your name like Kenny G.
    – cloudfeet
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 11:04
  • 4
    No, I don't think "Hong G" will be widely understood at all. Westerners are likely to interpret it like "Bill G" (for Bill Gates).
    – Steve
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 11:36
  • 4
    If you write Gates B. I'm going to assume your first name is Gates, and your second name starts with B. Commented May 29, 2022 at 11:41

It's not uncommon for English-speaking people to use their second name as their given name. In this case their email signature would generally say something like

  • Name: P J Smith
  • Given name: John

This works equally well for the alternative naming convention

  • Name: Lee J
  • Given name: Jun-fan

It's not uncommon too for people in some cultures to adopt an English given name, in addition to their name in their own language. Stating a given name explicitly solves this too.

  • Name: Lee J
  • Given name: Bruce

Let me comment on two things.

First, there are two different but related issues:

  • convey the structure of your full name; i.e., which part of your full name is your family name, and which is your given or "personal" name [and I think some names have other parts, such as "generational name", but I do not know much about that; some people can be referred to including the name of their father, but that's not really part of their name; and so on];
  • convey how you want/would like/expect to be addressed, in writing and/or when spoken to.

Adding a note/PS explaining the structure of your name solves the first issue (and I find it very useful) but does not solve the second issue. As noted in other answers, some cultures/contexts tend to use given name, others full name.

Lastly, in some cultures/contexts/professions, particularly when status/position is asymmetric, one signs "Gonzalez", or even simply "Roberto", but it is expected/customary to address such person as "Dr. Gonzalez", while asking to be called that would be utterly un-humble/immodest. So, YMMV. :-)

Update: Here are some links describing the wonderful world of possibilities in people names:

Also, if your name is natively written in hanzi/hanja/kanji, hangul, pinyin, etc., consider also adding it to convey that your name is "different from usual" and expectations may not be met.


As other suggested I would add to my email client a preformatted signature or I woud use a mail template with a preformatted beginning like:

Hi, this is Gildong (Hong Gildong)

But apart from that if you find yourself in an awkward situation ignore it, don't try to correct all the persons you are in touch with. I worked in many places with workers from different nationalities and this confusing calls happened quite often, but they did no damage. For short term contacts it didn't matter if they called someone by name or surname. For long term contact sooner or later people will find out the correct name and surname. When it happened in our office we just laughed it off.

  • 1
    Hi, this is Bond (James Bond)
    – OJFord
    Commented May 31, 2022 at 11:48
  • @OJFord The "Hi" was meant to introduce an informal tone, thus the reader could assume that the beginning is the first name. As you show there is still room for misunderstanding, But making it misunderstanding proof would become awkward as well, I don't think it is worth the pain to try and correct every single little mistake.
    – FluidCode
    Commented May 31, 2022 at 11:55

The problem causing the confusion is that your family name / given name are not in the usual order (where the given name is usually first and the family name comes last), with the added problem that people cannot look at the names and figure out which is family and which is given name.

Stop referring to "first name, last name". In your case, give your name in the way that is correct for you, and then tell people that your family name is "Hong".

Your company phone directory should list you under the letter H, together with everyone else whose family name starts with "H". I would address you formally as "Mr. Hong". If you were in the military, you would be addressed less politely as "Hong". If we were very familiar, I'd write "Hi Gildong, how was your weekend?".

But don't say "My first name is my last name". That's just confusing and doesn't make any sense. "My first name is my family name" makes sense.

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