My name is Minnie Wong Qin Qing. If I put Wong as my surname, and the others as my last name, finally the full name will be:

Minnie Qin Qing Wong.

So what can I do?

  • 26
    surname = last name = family name. Depending on the form, if WONG is your family name / surname, you could put Qin Qing Minnie, Minnie Qin Qing or other variations by leaving off Minnie. Do you have a passport already? Then you should use the same thing that's on the passport.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 13:04
  • 22
    Some of my colleagues would write this as Qin Qing (Minnie) WONG to make it absolutely clear that you have chosen to be called Minnie by non-Chinese speakers (assuming that is true of course).
    – mdewey
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 13:14
  • 27
    If you don't have "Minnie" as a name in your passport, it's very important to NOT write it in the reservation.
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 23:55
  • 4
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems you actually have 2 names: the Chinese name "Qin Qing" and the westernized name "Minnie Wong"?
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Sep 2, 2017 at 8:10
  • 8
    @AndrewT. Presumably (Mandarin) Chinese Wang/Huang Qin Qing and westernised Minnie Wong. The version given here is an odd mixture, since Wong is the Jyutping/Yale/Hong Kong transcription (i.e., based on Cantonese pronunciation) of either 王 wáng or 黄 huáng (most commonly), while Qin Qing is Pinyin (i.e., based on Mandarin). In Chinese, the name would be written in characters throughout, but it’s not common—as far as I know—to westernise names transcribing from different languages within the same name. Commented Sep 2, 2017 at 10:30

6 Answers 6


In terms of booking flights, the only thing you need to consider is what your passport says. It will have fields that are also marked in English, such as "Surname" and "Given names". When you book flight tickets, input exactly what is in those fields, in the corresponding field to what your passport refers to as your "Surname", "Given names", etc.

If that happens to be wrong according to your actual name, local naming conventions, etc, then that is perhaps something the issuing authority of your passport could consider dealing with.

However, in terms of booking tickets, the only thing you personally can do is input everything exactly as it appears in your passport, in the corresponding fields. That is what airlines, governments, etc. will want to see, and the absence of it will typically cause problems.

  • 47
    This is the correct answer! It doesn't even matter what those words mean, just pattern match them and copy from passport into reservation.
    – user4188
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 19:34
  • 8
    It has two extra initials in my passport representing my Chinese name. One of my bookings I left them out and had to get it added before the airline would issue my boarding pass. Just look at your passport and follow it.
    – Nelson
    Commented Sep 2, 2017 at 17:10
  • 2
    This is really the correct answer. I once suddenly ended up with a passport where my name was misspelled and I needed to book a flight. I put the misspelled name because this is all what mattered to get into the flight. I had all sorts of issues afterwards because of the misspelling (before it was corrected) but from the perspective of the booking it did not matter.
    – WoJ
    Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 15:19
  • 1
    This is the correct answer, except then you get into situations like my sister, whose last name has a hyphen in her passport, but many airline booking sites call the hyphen an invalid character. It hasn't actually prevented her from flying (yet), because the ticket agents have all been capable of engaging their grey matter, but she dreads the day when it becomes all fully automated...
    – Martha
    Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 18:44
  • 3
    If your passport photograph page has numbered fields, the "official" surname is generally field 1. If it does not, you can look in the MRZ beginning in position 7 until the characters << E.g. PASGPWONG<<MINNIE<QIN<QING<<<<< - here the "document type" is PA, the country code is SGP, the "official" surname for passport purposes is WONG, and the additional names follow. If the surname was two parts, QING WONG it would be PASGPQING<WONG<<MINNIE<QIN<<<<<
    – Ben
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 13:01

What matters is what is on your ID, but in general:

"surname" = "last name" = 姓

The phrase "last name" in English refers to your family name, regardless of whether your family name is customarily said/written first or last.

  • 18
    "Last name" is a bit confusing because in many countries or cultures (including often in China) surnames aren't last. "Surname" = "Family name" Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 14:38
  • 61
    Yes, it's confusing, but that's precisely why it needs to be explained explicitly that the phrase "last name" in English means family name, not "the part of your name which is said/written last" Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 15:56
  • 7
    "Family name" isn't necessarily less confusing, because multiple family names may be used, particularly in parts of the Hispano/Lusophone world, where the first surname is the father's surname and the second surname is the maternal grandfather's surname. For example, the president of El Salvador is Salvador Sánchez Cerén; Sánchez is his paternal family name, not a given name, and Cerén his maternal family name. So perhaps patrilineal family name is the best equivalent for the Anglophone world, although this doesn't then work for surnames which are merely patronymics.
    – choster
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 17:57
  • 19
    @choster shouldn't his English family name be the complete Sánchez Cerén then?
    – Chieron
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 20:06
  • 5
    @choster: "So perhaps patrilineal family name is the best equivalent for the Anglophone world" - unless the child has taken on the mother's surname, which is certainly also legally possible in some anglophone countries. Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 20:13

I suppose you're Singaporean? That's a current practice in Singapore. However you don't have much of a choice. Your family name is Wong, and your first names, plural, are Minnie AND Qin Qing.

  • 1
    Terminology The usual phrase (in western English) is "given names", because "first names" (plural) is an oxymoron: only one can actually be first. This includes first name and "middle names", but not the family name (because your parents didn't have to choose that). (Some people use one of their given names other than the first one as their primary name, and would write their name with a first initial instead of a middle initial in a context where you don't expand all your given names.) Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 19:10
  • 6
    @PeterCordes: "The usual phrase (in western English) is 'given names', because 'first names' (plural) is an oxymoron: only one can actually be first." - that would make the "top ten" and the "best [ones] of the best" oxymorons, as well. Avoiding the very confusion the OP is asking about seems like a likelier reason to prefer given names over first names. Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 20:31
  • 2
    @PeterCordes That is not true at all, at least far from universally so. If you look them up in most dictionaries, ‘first name’ and ‘given name’ are given as synonyms, which mirrors my own personal experience exactly. You can have several first/given names, and if you normally use just one of them, then you’d also call that your first/given name. My dad has two first names but only ever uses the second one except when filling in forms; his second first name is his first name (= primary name), while his first first name is a first name of his. Commented Sep 2, 2017 at 10:40
  • 17
    There is also nothing oxymoronic about the phrase “first names” in the plural, any more than First Nations or “the first ten minutes of the game” are oxymorons. Only one entity can be first, but there is nothing oxymoronic about that entity being a group consisting of sub-entities. Commented Sep 2, 2017 at 10:42
  • 3
    @phoog I’m sure that is true. The reverse is also true in some places, that you may have as as many first and last names as you want, but only one middle name. I've also heard people claim that you can't have a middle name if you have four names. Americans saying they have multiple first or last names are common enough, too. I'm sure some do make the distinction Peter mentions, but there is far too much variation to make any kind of blanket statement on “the usual phrase (in western English)”. Commented Sep 2, 2017 at 14:39

I agree with other answers here that if this is for an airline ticket booking you should transfer what's stated in your passport to the airline ticket – that is, if this is for international travel.

First name and last name are an entirely western language concept. More generic (and culturally more sensitive) would be to use given name and family name. Since names in China and other cultures put the family name before the given name, first and last name don't make sense here anymore, though I find that many people in cultures with reversed "first name" "last name" are aware of that.

In addition to your purely Chinese name (Wong Qin Qing, seemingly a Catonese/Mandarin mix) in family namegiven name order, you also have a western style name (Minnie Wong, whereby "Minnie" is probably the given name you chose) in given namefamily name order. When you mix both it could lead to confusion beyond identifying you. So it would be best to be "Minnie Wong" to your western friends/colleagues or in Hong Kong, where that's more common, and be "Wong Qin Qing" or "Wang Qin Qing" in your (mainland) Chinese circle.


I am sure you are Chinese but not China residence, maybe Malaysian Chinese or Singaporean Chinese, am I right? I face this same issue before. Your passport printed Minnie Wong Qin Qing, am i right? Minnie is your Christian / English name. Wong is your family name Qin Qing is your name.

While you make the flight booking, make in this way: First name: Qin Qing Last name: Winnie Wong

Only in this way, while print out your boarding pass, it will show Winnie Wong / Qin Qing, you wouldn't face any problem boarding. This issue actually is suffering many people before, the airline also advice change the first name, last name as formal format Given name, Surname.

Remember, while flight boarding, they only recognize what word type in your passport, if your passport only write as Winnie Wong Qin Qing, don't book your flight with Winnie 黄青青! But some country passport comes with Chinese Mandarin word and English word, they are safe with both, example Taiwan ROC.

Happy Safe Flight.


if you have a brother or sister then the commun words in your full name is the last name (last name = family name).

And the rest word or words is your first name it's also the given name par your parent to you.

  • 5
    This doesn't work in all languages/cultures or all situations. In some cultures children of different genders inherit different family names (which may or may not be inflected forms of the same name). In other cases a child may be born before the parents are married, and take the mother's surname, then the parents marry, a sibling is born, but the first child's surname isn't changed. Or many other examples Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 8:34
  • 1
    @ChrisH Or indeed the parents may simply choose to pass the mother’s family name on to one child and the father’s onto another, even if they are married all along. Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 15:31
  • 1
    @JanusBahsJacquet indeed. There are many cases. A specific example occurred to me which was why I used it. Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 15:33

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