Let Me Spell That For You... Living With A Slightly Different First Name

I don't have a mug with my name on it...
I don't have a mug with my name on it...
Spell it right now..
Spell it right now..
Elisabeth-with-a-S-Hasselbeck
Elisabeth-with-a-S-Hasselbeck
Elisabeth Shue...people are always confusing me for her...really... I mean it.
Elisabeth Shue...people are always confusing me for her...really... I mean it.
Elisabeth of Bavaria
Elisabeth of Bavaria
No Z in my name...
No Z in my name...

My first name is often misspelled.

My mother says she got the idea for my name and it’s spelling from the Bible. Elisabeth was the mother of John the Baptist.

OK, I guess that’s nice.

All I know is that when I was a kid, especially 35+ years ago in the Midwest, owning a name with an alternate spelling was a real pain in the keester.

The common spelling for my name (in the U.S., at least) is Elizabeth. Elizabeth with a Z. My name is spelled Elisabeth........ Elisabeth with a S........ An S instead of a Z.

You have no idea how many times I have stated that same phrase.

In grade school, My favorite show on TV was ‘Bewitched’ with Elizabeth Montgomery. I wanted my name to be spelled like hers. I thought the common spelling was somehow more “cool”.

Maybe even a bit more exotic and worldly.

Hey, I was a kid !

I have to admit, I tried writing Elizabeth on my school papers. Of course, that didn’t last long. Misspelling your own name, especially on purpose, gets noticed pretty quickly!

At that age, like most children, I just wanted to fit in, to be like everyone else.The last thing I wanted was to be singled out, especially for something like my name.

It felt like such a big issue in school, the teacher calling roll the first day of class, asking “is this the correct spelling of your name?”, and all the kids turning around to stare at me.

It’s funny how a kid can feel embarrassed by things that seem so silly now.

I still have to make sure the proper spelling of my first name is clearly understood. Say I am calling my doctor’s office. I tell them my name and they can’t find me in the computer. That’s because they did not catch the alternate spelling. I have to be diligent, with everything from credit cards to job applications to car insurance.

Now I know that this sounds as if I am whining over nothing.

Well, it turns out I am.

Because now, as I have gotten (significantly) older, I love the way that my name is spelled.

I’ve learned that Elisabeth-with-a-S is a common spelling in Europe. That’s cool. Kind of exotic and worldly. (Now where have I heard that?) There are several well-known Elisabeths who spell their name like mine. Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Elisabeth Shue. Elisabeth Moss from the amazing TV drama Mad Men. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, ground-breaking researcher on grief, and, my personal favorite: Elisabeth of Bavaria: Empress of Austria, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia. From what I have read about her, she was quite an individual. (see links at the end of this hub)

I feel a certain kinship with these ladies. A kinship that I would never have with Elizabeth-with-a-Z Taylor. Or Elizabeth Arden. Or Queen Elizabeth.

People tend to remember your name when it has an alternate spelling. And for that part, remember you better. Also, it’s a good gauge to see if people are paying attention.

I’ve noticed that the HubPages writers always spell my name correct.

But of course!

The misspelling of my first name is not much of an issue these days. I think that it is because you see such a variety in alternate name spellings. Some of them can be a little wacky, but who am I to judge?

My slightly-different name spelling is now something that I am proud of. My name is part of me and my unique self, and I love it.

Thanks, Mom. Thanks for breaking the common-name-spelling rules.


There’s one thing, though.

My nickname is Liz.

With a Z.


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Comments 29 comments

Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

You are just like Liza with a Z :)

My sister's name is Elizabeth.


Aqua profile image

Aqua 7 years ago from California

I always thought the spelling Elisabeth with the "s" was prettier than Elizabeth with the "z" and for me, conjures up romantic images of Europe like you stated here in your hub. My niece is an Elizabeth but wishes she was an Elisabeth. Funny how that works! I've got a similar issue with my name because it is spelled one letter "off" from the more common spelling. I like the spelling but I'm always correcting people so I completely understand how you feel. Thanks for the great hub!


elisabethkcmo profile image

elisabethkcmo 7 years ago from Just East of Oz Author

guess I could be Elisa with a S, what do you think, UW??


elisabethkcmo profile image

elisabethkcmo 7 years ago from Just East of Oz Author

Aqua, thank you for the 'Romantic European Images' reference, makes me feel so cosmopolitan!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

Frankly, I prefer the "S" - because if I was writing it out in script I think it would look nicer with the "S" and not the "Z" - that z just breaks up the flow.

I had a very difficult name for my teachers to pronounce and I went all through elementary school with them pronouncing it wrong. Would you like to know what my very odd first name is? How about 'Carolyn' - but all through elementary every single teacher called me "Caroline' - I still don't know why!

This was a nice, thoughful, informative and fun hub. Thanks a lot!


elisabethkcmo profile image

elisabethkcmo 7 years ago from Just East of Oz Author

oh, BkCreative, that is so interesting, Carolyn is my mother's name. Like you, she's been called 'Karo-line'

many times.

Thank you for sharing your personal perspective and for your kind comments about my hub.


broussardleslie profile image

broussardleslie 7 years ago

I have an issue with "s vs. z" in my name also - only it has to do with pronounciation. My name should be pronounced Lessssslie, not Lezzzzlie. I'm a pretty big stickler about it, too, because I always felt like Lessssslie sounds a least a little more feminine.

It is interesting to see how kids feel about their names. My stepson's name is Brytin (pronounced Bright-tin). I often wonder how he'll feel being the only kid with that name his entire life...

Great hub! Creative. Thank you for sharing your name game experience.

Leslie


elisabethkcmo profile image

elisabethkcmo 7 years ago from Just East of Oz Author

thanks Leslie-pronounced-with-a-S-sound-not-a-Z, I understand exactly what you mean!

maybe you should do a hub yourself about "the name game",

you've got some good material!


broussardleslie profile image

broussardleslie 7 years ago

Not a bad idea, Elisabeth. Thank you. Hopefully you would know that I was inspired by you and not stealing from you. LOL.


elisabethkcmo profile image

elisabethkcmo 7 years ago from Just East of Oz Author

of course, let me know if you do, and I'll put a link on this hub!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

I named my daughter Sarrah with 2 Rs because I wanted her to have a unique name. On name search recently she was the only one in the United States. Her middle name? Elizabeth with a Z. Then I named my son Adam. hmmm . . . I guess I didn't think his name needed to be unique. Don't know why. Anyway, I enjoyed your article. Thanks. I like the S.


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 7 years ago from India

I empathise with you completely. I've had to go through life telling people my name was spelt with a 'v' instead of the more commonly used 'w'...very few remember!


Jaspal profile image

Jaspal 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

Nice hub Elisabeth - that Elisabeth of Bavaria seems to have been quite a liberated person for her day and age!

The new addition to our family, a seven month old cocker, was neutered yesterday, and guess what he's wearing on his neck? An Elizabethan collar - obviously not yours, but from one of those who spell their names with a 'z'!! :)


elisabethkcmo profile image

elisabethkcmo 7 years ago from Just East of Oz Author

James and FP, thanks for adding your personal perspective. It can be a challenge to have a differently-spelled name, but, I think, worth it!

I'm grateful your comments and for reading my hub.


vanderhaven profile image

vanderhaven 7 years ago

Great hub! I named my daughter a very unusual name (Bithia - From the Bible) and worried quite a bit about it. She is nine and has to constantly spell it out or pronounce it or tell people "It's like 'Cynthia' only sound it out with a B-I-T-H first." but she is fine with it all and very confident, and once people "get it" it's all good, etc.

However, having an alternate spelling of a more common name like your situation, - Well, it's interesting - I never even thought about it much. I am glad you have shed some light on this particular situation for me with this hub.

Also, just as a sidenote- I LOVE the spelling with an "S" rather than the "Z".


elisabethkcmo profile image

elisabethkcmo 7 years ago from Just East of Oz Author

Bithia is a beautiful name, vanderhaven, sounds like a lovely new spring flower that emerges thru the snow...

thank you so much for your kind words, and I'm happy that you liked my hub!


blue dog profile image

blue dog 7 years ago from texas hill country

hey elisabeth,

fun hub - glad you adjusted to the spelling over the years, because it's a lovely spelling.

you should consider a hub on masculine and feminine names, and those that are intertwined. talk about adjusting as a child!


Crazdwriter 7 years ago

I loved your hub and I do like that you have your name spelled with an s instead of a z. I should do hub about my name and the different spellings and where my parents got it from lol. My name is CONSTNATLY spelled wrong all the time. Great idea for a hub Elisabeth. Great hub!


elisabethkcmo profile image

elisabethkcmo 7 years ago from Just East of Oz Author

blue dog, thanks for the compliment

and I really like your idea about the masculine and feminine names... I think I'll look into that!


elisabethkcmo profile image

elisabethkcmo 7 years ago from Just East of Oz Author

thanks Crazdwriter, look forward to reading your hub about your unique name!


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 7 years ago from Southern California

Well here goes another one of those comments with "my name is spelled different that the norm." My name is different, and is spelled different than the pronunciation. My name is Alfreta, (yuk). Most spell it with a "d." I always say that my mother couldn't spell, with a smile of course. Anyway, let me not rewrite your hub with my comments, it's written well enough. Very good hub.


elisabethkcmo profile image

elisabethkcmo 7 years ago from Just East of Oz Author

thank you Alfreta-with-a-T!!


itakins profile image

itakins 7 years ago from Irl

I feel a certain empathy here! Great hub.


habee profile image

habee 7 years ago from Georgia

I can relate! I'm Holle with an "e" instead of a "y." Good hub.


elisabethkcmo profile image

elisabethkcmo 7 years ago from Just East of Oz Author

habee, I would imagine, your name probably gets pronounced all kinds of ways!


poetlorraine 7 years ago

it all came out right in the end..... i really like your name


elisabethkcmo profile image

elisabethkcmo 7 years ago from Just East of Oz Author

thanks, poetlorraine. I like your name, too...I would imagine your Lorraine is misspelled at times as well.


Elisabeth 6 years ago

I could have written this post myself...every single word including how my mom came up with the spelling.

I, too, hated it as a child, but love the spelling now. :)


elisabethkcmo profile image

elisabethkcmo 6 years ago from Just East of Oz Author

wow, that is great, I'm glad that you could identify with this hub

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