Date: Mon, 27 Feb 1995 08:00:37 -0700


Subject: Re: "little" and "jr"

Jerry Miller wrote:

The "Jr." problem could be solved in many cases by never using "Sr." to

designate the father in the twosome. I mean there would be "Joe Smith" and "Joe

Smith Jr." and that should suffice, especially since no one is actually named

Joe Smith Sr. on their birth certificate. It is merely a convenient way to make

sure someone understands that you are referring to the elder rather than the

younger Joe Smith, which is fine in conversation but totally unnecessary, in my

view, in written copy. Agree? Disagree?

This would be fine if the reader could be assured that the convention was

being used consistently. In the absence of this assurance, however, I don't

think copy editors are doing any favors by allowing the designator to be

omitted. I say leave it on--the added clarity is well worth the tiny extra


It seems to me the Jr. has to remain in effect even after the Sr. dies, at

least in sports--and probably politics, show business (i.e., Sammy Davis Jr.,

Will Rogers Jr.), etc., for the people who don't read the obituary columns. I

suppose it would be less important for us common folks, at least in

conversation (but it might be in obits?)

Where I work there used to be an Edward Cheadle, Sr., and an Edward Cheadle,

Jr. Once EC, Sr., retired, the "Jr." was dropped for the younger EC in all

company-wide references to him (spoken and written), even in his computer

log-on name (which had formerly included "jr").

For whatever that's worth.

Bruce Gelder