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A secondary character in a historical WWII novel I am writing is named Gerhard von Trapp. Should I include the "von" when referring to him only by his last name, or perhaps drop the von, esp. when beginning a sentence with his last name.

  • I think you may mean to ask on Writing or EL&U instead. – Riker Jan 2 '19 at 23:13
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it belongs on English Language & Usage instead. – Riker Jan 2 '19 at 23:15
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is a language question, not a literature question (and not a writing question either). – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Jan 2 '19 at 23:17
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    “Von” is part of the last name, so you'd normally refer to him as “von Trapp” in indirect speech. If you want to know the habits of a particular milieu for direct speech, ask on either English Language & Usage or German Language depending on what language the characters are speaking, and say in what environment the speech takes place. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Jan 2 '19 at 23:19
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    For confirmation, you can check the German Wikipedia article on John von Neumann, which there are sentences beginning with Von Neumann. – Peter Shor Jan 3 '19 at 11:53