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Common Terms Used On Forms


There are many special words, phrases, and abbreviations used on forms. You need to be familiar with these special terms. Here is a list of the most common terms used on forms. Read the list and then look at the sample form to see how these terms are used.

First Name - This is the name that people who know you call you by. For example: Deborah Smith, "Deborah" is the first name.

Middle Name - This is the part of your name that is not first and is not your family name. Most people do not know this part of your name. For example: Deborah Eileen Smith, "Eileen" is the middle name, Maria Anna Gomez Finatro, "Anna Gomez" are the middle names

Middle Initial - The initial is the first letter of a word. The middle initial is the first letter of your middle name. For example: Deborah Eileen Smith, "E" is the middle initial.

Last Name - This is your family name and is the part of your name that goes with Mr. ---- or Ms. ----. For example, Deborah Eileen Smith, "Smith" is the last name (Ms. Smith).

Surname - This is the same as your last name or family name.

Address - This is where you live. The address includes the number of your house or apartment, the name of the street, the name of the city, province/state, and country where you live. For example, for a house address -1234 Main Street, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. For an apartment address - #502 - 1246 Main Street, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Postal Code - This is the number that comes at the end of your mailing address and is used by the post office to sort mail. In Canada, a combination of letters and numbers is used. In the United States it is called a zip code, and only numbers are used. For example: Ms. D. Smith, 1234 Alpha Street, Victoria, BC, Canada, V2P 3X1 - V2P 3X1 is the postal code.

Birthplace - This is the city and/or country where you were born.

Date of Birth - This is the day, month, and year that you were born. For example: October 27, 1980 or 27/10/80.

Age - This asks how old you are. You answer with the number of your age. For example, "19."

Sex - This asks if you are male or female. You answer M (male) or F (female)

Marital Status - This asks if you are married, single (not married), divorced (were married, but not married now), or widowed (were married but your husband or wife died).

Dependents - This asks if you have any children. You answer Yes or No. If your answer is yes, you should write the number of children you have.

Next of Kin - This is the name of the person most closely related to you. For example, it could be your mother, father, husband, or wife. This is the person who will be contacted if you are in an accident, become ill, or die.

Citizenship - This asks about your nationality (what country are you a citizen of, what country is your passport from). Example answers: Canadian, Korean, Mexican, German.

Occupation - This asks about your job. You answer with one or two words describing your job. Example answers: teacher, business person, secretary, travel agent, student (you would say you are a student if you are in school full time and you do not work).

N/A - This means Not Applicable or Not Available. This is what you write when you cannot give information on one of the lines. For example, sometimes a form will ask for your phone number. If you do not want to give your phone number or if you do not have a phone number, you write N/A. This means either that you do not think the information is necessary (not applicable) or that you do not have the information (not available).

Rec'd - This indicates the date an item was received. This is often used on a telephone message form. It is for the date the telephone message was received.

Office Use Only - This tells you that you must not write on this part of the form. The company or department that receives your form will write on this part.