DEALING WITH THE NAMES OF PEOPLE

When you discuss an author or dramatist or director or anyone for that matter in your formal essays, use the following standard convention:

1. The first time you mention a source's name, print his/her full name:

Arthur C. Clarke, in his science fiction novels such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, offers us a startling vision of the future of humanity--one in which we evolve steadily out of our bodies and into pure energy.

2. Once you have established the source's full name, refer to him/her from then on by last name only:

Clarke continues to build upon his incredible vision of the future of our race in his non-fictional essays and books.

COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID

Arthur continues to build upon his incredible vision of the future of our race in his non-fictional essays and books. PROBLEM: Standard formal writing practice frowns on the presumption of referring to someone by his/her first name. This is quite informal and usually isn't appropriate in academic writing.

Mr. Clarke continues to build upon his incredible vision of the future of our race in his non-fictional essays and books. PROBLEM: The title isn't necessary according to standard formal practice, so leave it out. "Clarke" alone is the best choice.