How to Say a Family Last Name in the Plural Form: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to addressing family members with a plural last name, understanding the correct way to formulate it can sometimes be confusing. Whether you’re in a formal or informal setting, it’s important to know how to properly say a family last name in the plural form. This guide will provide you with useful tips, examples, and variations, helping you navigate this linguistic challenge with confidence.

Formal Ways to Say a Family Last Name in the Plural

In formal situations, such as professional settings or formal events, it’s essential to respect proper grammar and etiquette. Here are a few ways to say a family last name in the plural form formally:

1. Using “The” in Front of the Plural Last Name

One of the most common ways to pluralize a family last name formally is by adding “the” before the surname. For example, if the last name is “Smith,” you would say “the Smiths” to refer to the family as a whole.


In the formal invitation, please address the invitation to the Smiths.

2. Utilizing “The” and “Family” in Combination

Another formal option is to add “family” after “the” to pluralize the last name. This method is especially useful when indicating the entire family rather than just the individuals. For instance, the plural form of “Jones” would be “the Jones family.”


Please welcome the Jones family to our community.

3. Naming All Individuals Separately

If you want to address every family member individually, you may list each person’s first name along with the last name. This approach is the most formal but may be unnecessary unless you need to specifically address each family member.


Please extend my regards to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson and their children, Michael and Emily.

Informal Ways to Say a Family Last Name in the Plural

When in informal settings or among close acquaintances, you have more flexibility in pluralizing family last names. These options offer a more relaxed tone:

1. Using Just the Last Name

In casual conversations, especially with friends and family, there is no need to add any specific words to pluralize the last name. Simply using the last name itself will suffice.


We’re having dinner at the Smiths tonight.

2. Employing “The” Before the Last Name

Adding “the” before the family last name, similar to the formal approach, can also be used in informal situations. This method helps differentiate between a specific family and others with the same surname.


We visited the Johnsons last weekend.

Regional Variations

While the aforementioned ways to say a family last name in plural are generally accepted, some regional variations exist. Here are a couple of examples:

1. Using an Apostrophe “s” (‘s) to Pluralize

In some regions, especially in North America, it’s common to add an apostrophe followed by “s” (‘s) to pluralize a family last name. For example, the plural form of “Brown” becomes “the Browns’s.”


We are joining the Brown’s for Thanksgiving.

2. Doubling the Last Name

In a few regions, it is the norm to double the family last name when using the plural form. This adds emphasis and clarity, ensuring there is no confusion. For instance, “Martinez” becomes “the Martinez-Martinez” in the plural form.


We had a lovely time at the Martinez-Martinez’s housewarming party.

Final Tips for Saying a Family Last Name in the Plural

  • Always consider the context and level of formality when using the plural form of a family last name.
  • When in doubt, opt for the more formal approach, especially in professional settings.
  • It’s important to respect individuals’ preferences if they have a specific way they prefer their last name to be pluralized.
  • Remember that regional variations exist, so be aware of your specific location’s norms.

Now that you have a comprehensive guide on how to say a family last name in the plural form, you can confidently address families and individuals in various contexts. Whether you’re in a formal or informal setting, use the appropriate method and show respect for others’ last names. Happy communicating!

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