It seems that the short formal way to refer to "Hernando de Soto" is "de Soto", but that for "Francisco de Vitoria" is "Vitoria".

Why is "de" included in the former but dropped in the latter? Are there any general rules that determine this?

  • 1
    Maybe it has to do with the fact that "Vitoria" is a toponym, while "Soto" is not (at least by itself). Could you check this question to see if its answers shed some light on yours?
    – Charlie
    Jul 21 '20 at 13:23
  • I would always include the de, myself.
    – Lambie
    Jun 14 '21 at 18:57

We usual use the whole last name as the formal way to go. This specific case (Francisco de Vitoria) is a weird example, I would never have called him 'Vitoria' but 'de Vitoria', being a native speaker myself. This is probably influenced by old Spanish uses, but that's not the rule nowadays. Just use the whole last name when speaking formally.

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