Tag Archives: Culture

Names in English

I had an interesting discussion with a student the other day about short names in English. To summarize, she wasn’t aware that “Dave” is short for “David,” for example. I thought I’d make a little list of some common short names that you might hear in Vancouver.

Male names:

  • Dave – David
  • Bill, Will, Willy – William
  • Charlie, Chuck – Charles
  • Ed, Eddie – Edward
  • Tom, Tommy – Thomas
  • Rob, Bob, Bobby – Robert
  • Rob – Robin
  • Sam – Samuel
  • Russ – Russell
  • Chris – Christopher, Christian
  • Larry – Lawrence
  • Pat – Patrick
  • Art – Arthur
  • Matt – Matthew
  • Al – Albert, Alphonse, Alan
  • Zach, Zack – Zachary, Zachariah
  • Alex – Alexander
  • Luke – Lucas
  • Jon, John – Jonathan
  • Mike – Michael
  • Nick, Nicky – Nicholas (note: “Nicky/Nicki” is also a female name)
  • Gabe – Gabriel
  • Rick, Ricky, Rich – Richard
  • Josh – Joshua
  • Benji, Ben – Benjamin
  • Jay – Jason
  • Ray – Raymond
  • Ron – Ronald
  • Jim, Jimmy – James
  • Henry – Hank
  • Jeff/Geoff – Jeffrey/Geoffrey
  • Tim, Timmy – Timothy
  • Brad – Bradley
  • Frank – Francis
  • Max – Maxwell, Maximilian
  • Vince, Vinnie – Vincent

Generally, male short names that end in “y” or “ie” are associated with children. For example, James and Robert might be called Jimmy and Bobby when they are young, but they might want to be called Jim and Rob when they become teenagers or young adults. This isn’t a rule, though, so it’s always best to ask what someone’s preferred name is!

Female names:

  • Steph -Stephanie
  • Em – Emily
  • Cath, Kate, Kat, Katy, Cathy – Catherine or Kathleen
  • Jen, Jenny – Jennifer
  • Pat, Patty – Patricia
  • Marge, Maggie – Margaret
  • Meg – Megan
  • Jill, Gill – Jillian, Gillian
  • Chris, Christy, Tina – Christine, Christina
  • Laurie – Lauren
  • Joy – Joyce
  • Lori – Lorraine
  • Rosie, Rose – Roseanne
  • Liz, Lizzie, Beth, Eliza – Elizabeth
  • Fran – Frances
  • Max, Maxie – Maxine
  • Sherry – Sharon
  • Jules – Julie, Julia
  • Becca – Rebecca
  • Jess – Jessica
  • Mel, Melly – Melissa, Melanie
  • Alex – Alexandra, Alexis
  • Kim – Kimberley
  • Nat – Natalie, Natalia
  • Mandy – Amanda
  • Sue, Suzy – Susan, Suzanne

Female short names that end in “y” or “ie” do not usually have the same connotations about age as male short names do.

Of course, some people may have a short name as their legal name. If you’re not sure, you can ask the person once you get to know them. “Hey Patty, is that short for Patricia?”


Personal Business

It is time for a useful, though perhaps not academically-focused, post today. I am talking about the washroom.

In Canada, we don’t like to talk about the “toilet,” unless we are talking about the purchase, maintenance, or installation of one. The word sounds like an appliance, similar in use to “chair,” “table,” or “stove.”

“Washroom,” ” bathroom,” and “restroom” all talk about the space where a toilet, sink and the like are located. Restroom sounds like a public place – a boss might ask a worker to clean the restroom, for example, but it would be strange to use this word in your house. Bathroom is a better word for your house, but washroom wouldn’t be wrong in that case.

Other countries might say “WC,” which stands for “water closet.” WC is the more common expression, but we rarely see this in Canada.

As a cultural note, teachers of children will always require students to ask permission to go to the washroom. Teachers of adults may or may not require this. If the class is very large, this is less likely than if the class is small.