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Why Baby First Names Should Be Spelled Uniquely

Updated on September 4, 2019
Lorra Garrick profile image

All-around writer who specializes in fitness, exercise and topics that most writers won't touch.

This is about spelling a common name uniquely rather than making up a name. Names for your baby should be creatively spelled. This doesn’t mean you have to go overboard, such as Kerrowlinn or Aleczanndur. But “Areeanna” sure beats the same ol “Ariana.”

Why You Should Give Your Baby’s Name a Unique Spelling

A creative twist is what’s called for – especially if it’s a very common name that your child may end up sharing with several other students in her class.

  • A unique spelling indicates that the parents are not afraid to go against the grain or flee from the herd: essential traits for getting ahead in the business and entertainment world.
  • It sets the name apart from the zillion other people who might have it, especially if the last name is common: Jaysen Jones looks more inspired than Jason Jones.

Unique Spellings Do NOT Mean Uneducated Lazy Parents!

At around 11 I began realizing that first names shouldn’t all be spelled the same. Like, whose dumb idea was this?

A big shame on anyone who thinks that people who “misspell” their baby’s name are uneducated, low in I.Q. or dyslexic.

  • Critics have a rigid, inflexible mind.
  • Critics are afraid to bend the rules a bit and perhaps are envious of those who are fearless about making up new rules (e.g., spelling “Heidi” as Hydee).

At age 11 I was in the seventh grade and was composing music on the piano, drawing and coloring. I grew up to be a college-degreed writer and editor. An artistic, imaginative mind – rather than a dull one – is drawn to bending the rules about spelling a baby’s name.

Where do the critics get off labeling the parents who “misspell” their baby’s name as uneducated, dimwitted or lazy?

To label those who choose unusual spellings as “illiterate” or “trashy” (yes, these words come up in threads) only shows how ignorant and misguided the critics themselves are.

I just love to see a name spelled uniquely!

I envision the parent as one who’s not afraid to think outside that damn box that so many others stuff themselves into in the name of conforming and following the crowd. This is one reason why Erikka looks better than Erica.

  • Strangely, critics of unique baby name spellings never challenge why some traditional spellings are just plain weird, such as two L’s for Lloyd, but nearly every other “L” name has a single L.
  • And how did “Sharlet” get spelled as Charlotte? Phonetically this is char (as in to burn) and lot (as in parking lot). Weird!
  • And why is “Carrie” so acceptable, but “Jarrie” or “Parrie” would draw criticism?

According to threads I’ve read, it seems that creative spellings of names piss school teachers off the most. We desperately need fewer narrow-minded and judgmental teachers. The reason you can’t remember that little Abigail’s name is spelled “Abbigayle” is because you’ve locked yourself into a herd mentality.

What’s a name’s proper spelling?

Just what almighty god declared that Sharon and Jeremiah must be spelled only one way, while names such as Caitlin, Sherry, Daryl and Susie get to have multiple spellings that are all equally accepted?

Ironically, names with the most phonetic variations – such as Clarice and Virginia – often have only one accepted spelling. And just for the fun of it: Klerrese and Verjinnea.

Kennedy vs. Kenadie

In a thread, a poster was furious that someone would dare spell their daughter’s name Kenadie. Use your noggins, people, because there’s two logical explanations.

  • Parents who like the sound of “Kennedy” may want to spell it differently so that when people see it in print, they don’t think of JFK or a scandalous American family!
  • Furthermore, “Kennedy” looks more like a surname than a girl’s name, but “Kenadie” looks charmingly feminine.

These two explanations also apply to other girls’ names that are also surnames (Kamble rather than Campbell, and Braydie rather than Brady).

Who wants people thinking of soup when they see their daughter’s name in print? Or “Marcia Marcia Marcia!” when they see “Brady” in print?

  • When you see the name Hilary, whom do you think of? Would you think of that same person if it were spelled Hillerie?
  • And maybe Bradley is spelled Braddley to distinguish it from Uncle Bradley after whom the baby was named.
  • And maybe Cody is spelled Kody because the parents want “K” names for their kids.

Always Having to Spell the Name for Everyone

In threads, women who were given uniquely spelled (but common) names complain they hate it because “All my life I had to spell it for everyone.”

In the past 10 years, I can count on ONE hand the number of times I was involved in a situation that required giving my correctly spelled name to a person who had to document it. Big deal, so I had to spell my name for the woman taking information for my new bank checks. Gasp!

What kind of life are people leading that they absolutely must spell their name for “everyone” they meet? And why do only women complain of this?

  • When I tell people my name over the phone, I don’t spell it unless it’s for a financial or legal document.
  • If I’m ordering pizza, I just give my name and nothing more. Why should it matter how the order taker spells it?
  • If I give a sales clerk my name to put on some merchandise that I want to pick up later, I just give the name; I don’t bother spelling it – even if I see the clerk writing L-A-U-R-I-E.
  • Learn to pick your battles, people.

But let’s suppose Trayci really does have to give the correct spelling on a more than occasional basis. What’s the big deal? So you spell it out. Geez.

Even many conventionally spelled names need to be spelled out because they have multiple traditional spellings such as Caitlin (Caitlyn, Kaitlin, Katelyn, Katelynn) and Daryl (Darryl, Darrell, Darrel). It’s called life. DEAL.

As for kids having to spell it all throughout their childhood…again, I’m wondering if this is just a wildly inflated perception. As a child I hardly ever had to spell my name for anyone. New teachers as I moved up in grades already had the spelling in their records. If I had to spell it for the person collecting names for a volleyball league roster, SO WHAT?!

Becoming Unraveled Because Someone Corrects Your Spelling of Her Name

I’ve also been in positions where I had to take down an accurate spelling of first names. If the name had many spelling possibilities, I’d ask how it was spelled.

NO -- people did NOT think I was uneducated. That’s because I’d ask it as follows: “How do you spell that since I’ve seen it spelled many different ways?” And sometimes, the spelling indeed turned out to be unique!

If someone “corrects” you about the spelling of her first name, don’t be a schmuck; just make the correction. This assumes they’re pleasant about it, unlike the cold blunt response I once got when I asked someone over the phone how she spelled her name, “since I’ve seen that spelled many different ways.”

She replied with a tone, “The way it’s usually spelled: C-O-U-R-T-N-E-Y.” God I hate rigid thinkers.

One time I noted the name tag of my server at a restaurant: Raychel. I complimented her on it. She was delighted and said, “Yeah, my parents spelled my name the way it should be spelled. The regular spelling looks like Rahh-chel.”

If you’re dabbling with the idea of giving your future baby’s common name a unique spelling, I say DO IT. There’s no pride in subscribing to a herd mentality.



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    • Lorra Garrick profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorri G 

      19 months ago

      Thank you; glad you enjoyed it.

    • daydreams profile image

      Marianne Sherret 

      19 months ago from Scotland, UK

      I don't think I agree with you, but I enjoyed reading your arguments!


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