What’s In a Name

Published 17 years, 4 months past

I know that you don’t need to be told this, but I’m just going to put this on record for anyone who might be Googling for the information in the future, not to mention the four separate people who got this wrong within the last 24 hours.  It’s like this:

My last name is spelled M-E-Y-E-R.  No trailing “s”; an “e” to each side of the “y”; no “a” anywhere within its bounds.  Got it?  Good!

Also, it’s “Eric” with a “c”, not a “k” or even a “ck”.  ‘kay?

So how does your name get misspelled, and how much does it bother you?

Comments (135)

  1. My name gets mispronounced or misspelled all the time. It doesn’t bother me much since it is not a common name in the U.S. It does bother me very little when people I have known for a long time mispronounce my name since it is not that difficult. If it was Celalettin or Abdulmuttalip or Abuzittin I would understand the difficulty.

  2. Surprisingly, people don’t spell my name wrong often at all. =)

  3. People really enjoy adding an “e” to Fry like Frey or Frye.

  4. so, looks like you are being careful to *not* put in the meyer+’s’ word, even in this blog post. ;-)

    IMO, putting some keywords for common misspellings of something would only *help* people find it (you)

  5. … and on the issue of being bothered by name misspellings… everyone seems to want to spell my last name as ‘WilkEnson’ not the more common (and IMO more obvious) ‘Wilkinson’ (grr)

    … no, I don’t have wilkEnson as a keyword on my site either. ;-)

  6. My name is spelt Raymond Luxury-Yacht, but it is pronounced “Throatwobbler Mangrove”.

  7. Please! My dad’s Dutch, and my surname shows it. Try getting people to (a) spell it right when you say it, or (b) say it right when they read it (hint: pretend there’s one “O”). Gotta love those cultures that love double letters! :-)

  8. My last name, Chiasson, is apparently almost impossible to spell or pronounce. If I tell someone, they write it as “Chaisson”, without fail, unless (sometimes even if) I tell them that it’s IA, not AI. If I write it, and they read it back to me, I get one of several different mispronunciations, all of which I am sick of hearing.

    The one person who has ever gotten it right on the first try was a hotel clerk in (somewhat unsurprisingly) Paris.

  9. My last name gets misspelled very regularly as “M-e-n-t-o-r”. And my first name as “W-a-y-n-e”.

    So any time I give it over the phone, I automatically spell it out.

  10. People mistake me for Simon “Wilson” all the time. Unfortunately some domain squatter has grabbed simonwilson.net, or I’d set it up as a redirect!

  11. The typical problems are -er v. -or, one N or two. The one that really gets me, though, is when software (bad form validation, etc.) refuse to allow names with apostrophes in them.

  12. Trying to spell my lastname to anyone usually needs repeating several times – people tend to get stuck between the ‘e’s and ‘i’s, and over the phone it’s just impossible if you don’t resort to that secret flight code (Bravo, Tango etc.)

  13. You’d think mine would be easy — last name of White — yet I routinely get asked how to spell it. I usually just reply “as in the color.”

    I also get the occasional “Kim” when talking on the phone.

  14. Greg:
    You should, I think, find no shortage of people in Canada who can pronounce your name, at least in most provinces.

    Personally, my name is not particularly difficult for anglophones to spell or pronounce, but my mother very nearly spelled my name as “Jeffery” when registering my birth; I’m very happy that was avoided, as it looks dinky. :)

  15. Mine is often spelled Mansour, instead of Monsour; primarily because Mansour is the “usual” spelling of it in the Middle East.

    That doesn’t bother me; but what does bother me is that when spelling it over the phone or in person to someone, more people than not space out when I get to the “our”. They either drop the ‘o’ or the ‘u’ or just blank out and I have to back up.

  16. I get “Nathaniel” about 9 out of 10 spellings. I’ve given up trying to make people get it right …

  17. Whenever I talk about you to anyone I make sure I get your name spelled right… after all, chances are I am quoting you…

  18. People do all sorts of odd things to my name. I’ve had Stuart Frisbee, Stewart Frizby, frizbee, frissbe. Still, I’m the biggest culprit for spelling peoples names wrong (I still get my flatmates name wrong everytime I send him an email, after two years – really should change that address book entry!)

  19. People often drop the last ‘n’ from mine. I wouldn’t really mind but they usually do it when they have my name written down in front of them, having just received an e-mail from me, and having remarked that two ‘n’s is strange.

    What really does annoy me is that despite all of the above, and despite having had to type my e-mail address in (andrew@…), they still refer to me as Alan within the body of the e-mail.

  20. I get called Anders Törnblad (with umlaut dots over the ‘o’) a lot, since that is a more common lastname in Sweden than my real lastname.

    Some people insist on adding an ‘h’ here and there: Thornblad or Tornbladh

    Once I got signed up as Tornberg for a whole semester at school.

  21. My last name doesn’t get mispronounced any more now that Northern Exposure‘s been off the air for so long. My family’s last name was originally “Fleischmann” way back in the day — the German equivalent of being named “Butcher” if I understand it right — but that changed well before my grandfather was born.

    The name was anglicized; removing the I, C and extra N. But while that %@#* show was on the air, everyone wanted to pronounce it with a long I in the first syllable. Got really irritating after a while.

  22. My real name is Jon Linklater-Johnson…. doesn’t look that hard when you see it written down but when you say it to people that look at you like you made it up. I get the John instead of Jon thing a lot which doesn’t bother me much any more. But the fun people have had with my surname! Examples:


    And on my first debit card: MR J INKATR-JON

    Took them three attempts to get it right. Apparently the machine couldn’t fit it all on so tried to squash it in so they had to do it by hand eventually.

    PS. Eric… when I type two left facing chevrons one after another into this box it crashes Safari. Not sure what’s going on there.

  23. Well I’ve had my first name spelt Niel, Neal and Neale. And when asked about my surname I just say “like the motor company”

    – Neil.

  24. Haha, that’s funny. I’ve even misspelled your name on our conference site before. :)

    Also for the record: my last name is not Bokardo, thanks. It’s just the name of my domain. When people link to me as Josh Bokardo, I wonder: did they ever go to my site even once? Even for a second?

  25. My first name ‘Rijk’ gets misspelled (Rjik seems common, no idea why) and mispronounced a lot by non-Dutch people. Though they usually ask me how to pronounce it, if we meet IRL after we’ve met online :)

  26. My name doesn’t get misspelled very often, but it will be used in the wrong order. My full name is Joseph Michael Scott. It isn’t unusual to be called Scott instead of Joseph because they hear it last and assume it is my first name.

    Doesn’t really bother me, though if I’m trying to make it clear I will specifically say: first name Joseph, last name Scott.

  27. My last name is Meyer as well. I feel your pain. :)

  28. Well, people continually call me “Christy.” I’ve gotten used to it but my friends like to correct people. It’s “Chrissy,” no “t.” As for misspellings: Chrissie, Chrissi, Crissy, Crissie, Crissi, Krissy, Krissie, Krissi, Kryssi, etc. My grandparents misspelled my name in a Christmas letter once. I wasn’t sure whether to be amused or annoyed.

    As to my last name, Murphy is the most frequent mistake.

  29. ‘Joel’ confuses English speakers who want me to be ‘Joe’, and for my third grade teacher who insisted, all school year, that it be pronounced ‘joELLE‘ (she was a dolt in other ways, too.)

    My affectation of leaving off the period after my middle initial is my own fault. I’ve just gotten used to adding 14 sticky notes, three photos, and making six phone calls, every time I order business cards.

    But my last name always has to be spelled to people, people who speak English (presumably.) It’s two short common English words, but I find myself explaining it: “You know, like a ball player can field?” “Oh, you play baseball Mr. Cantwell?” *smack*

    Sweet merciful heavens; I know ‘Canfield’ is an unusual name, but is ‘Cantwell’ so common that it outranks ‘Campbell’ (which I could almost understand; at least it’s Celtic!) as the worst possible guess?

  30. May be caring for the pronounciation of names, words, syllibals properly can be a right job to do. But what about spelling?? Kunter now explains: – hell .. I said Kunter .. not ‘something else’ .. it’s a cause of fight, bewared!

    Okay .. one of the owner of those four ‘faul’ incidents appears to be myself as I found that I had used ‘Erik‘ even after a couple of good, successful trials. :p


    Being a direct person utilizing various I/O processes at mind quickly, and in economical ways ( as in my terms :p ), I’m said to be a person who writes in the way he hears and who talks in the way he imagines.

    I may accept the host’s upset situation or the possible touchy mood he’s worn after a.m. poor messages, but unfortunately, this will not state any guarantee that I’d show my uttermost care from now on for not repeating it anymore.. It was an undeliberate case, besides, they both YIELDED the same voice :p ok :p heh.. ok joke.. and explained.

    May be, caring for the pronounciation of names, words, syllibals properly can be a right job to do. As for spelling ?? Eeh, I ain’t no receptionist, not a binary-bourne spell checker either; we are some of the elite web developers, men and women :p recalling the old BMech days perhaps.. jey look out there, I did the same thing and I felt like writing as in this sentence would just be alright and happened to used the word ‘elite’ there – the latter considerations or any speculations following this issue are not my job either. I’m not asking ‘why elite’ .. ‘why ERIK’ .. Erik at all.. who do I know.. why should I know… this is it.

    Moreover, While both yielding the same voice ERIC is a good name, but jis mistyped uncautiously? or carelessly? both are open to debate but at least it is being mistyped ‘Undeliberately‘.. like the other three elite friends of this faulhood :p we’re innocents Eric, poor people who don’t like reading untechnical books but loves writing any !technical as we all witness this :p )

    ( possible replacements to my on-the-fly choice-of-word ‘elite’ for modesty :p ok, fine contributers, we the nice guys and gals ( you’d better never set this cell to NOT NULL ), followers of WWW, followers of Herr E.Mayers ( meinen fav. deutch freund ), we as the fans constituting some xhtml fanbase :p extremely bored but very well-structured people, Et cetera :p ).

    what a paranthesis :p the topic was under ‘humor’ right? allright kunter.. send this up..

  31. My last name is “Haack”, which gets mispelled as “Hack” all the time. Some people pronounce it “Hake” but it is pronounced as “hack”.

    My highschool soccer team just called me using the sound of one forming a loogie (hwwwwackkkkk!).

  32. Look at my name and you’ll see the hell I go through.

    “Like the country, without a ‘d'” is the phrase I use.

    “‘Ryan’ with a ‘R'”

    After 32 years, I’m used to it, but nonetheless annoying.

  33. Reismeyer, Reismyer, Reismeier, Reismier – just a few.

    The most fun is when I spell it to someone “R I E” and they spell it back immediately “R E I…”.

    Or when it’s mispronounced as Rice-meyer. My nephew gave up. He now spells it Reismeyer or on occasion, Reesemeyer.

  34. My first name occasionally ends with an f instead of a ph, but not enough to be bothersome. Last name is almost always misspelled with a y at the end, so I always spell it out, or at least say “Brandi with an eye”. That one doesn’t bother me much either. The one that drives me crazy is when people think my first name is Randy. You weren’t listening, were you….

  35. Not many people spell my name wrong, but a lot of people pronounce my name wrong. My last name is “Heath” so I’m always repeating myself. It does tend to get old after awhile.

  36. Once when I was a kid I got a birthday party invite for “ben buckingham”. I thought that was pretty impressive.

    If I mumble a bit on a bad phone line people sometimes think it’s “McKinnon”, too.

  37. As I am the only person I know to have the spelling of my first name (go ahead, try googling it – thanks mom & dad), I see all sorts of interesting things. I get the common spellings of ‘Waylon’, ‘Wayland’, or even ‘Whalen'(hint: the first 3 letters spell ‘way’, which is the way (pun intended) it is pronounced; “way-lin”). I often just spell it without even bothering to pronounce it. More surprising (and annoying), is the number of times people respond to my posts on mailing lists/forums and refer to me as ‘Wayne’.??

    Then there’s my last name. The most common misspellings are: Lindberg, Lindburg, Linberg, Linburg, & Limburg. I’ve even seen linderg, lindurg, limderg & limdurg. I’m often required to spell it multiple times; I assume because people generaly expect ‘ndbu’ and thats just two many differences all at one time. The ‘m’ almost always hangs people up. Even saying “m – as in Mary/Mark/Mother…” rarely helps. I still get an ‘n’. On the plus side, people generally spell it correctly after reading it (except for maybe the ‘m’), which is more than can be said for my first name.

    Come to think of it, my landlord spelled it ‘Linberg’ on the mailbox, but got it right on the lease. Go figure.

  38. don’t go there.

  39. Misspellings and mispronunciations aren’t the only problem. I often get phone calls asking for “Mr. Waylan” as if that’s my last name – they seem to have no idea what my first name may be. Actually, they usually say Whalen (whale-in) which is a common enough surname. I just respond by saying: “Yes, this is Waylan.” Once, I had a secretary of a office we did business with complain to my boss that I was stuck up, because she thought I always referred to myself by my last name. D’oh.

    My wife’s name is “Kori” which has problems of it’s own. As the more common ‘Cory’ or ‘Corry’ are more generally male names, people assume I’m Kori (Kori Whalen??) and ask what my wife’s first name is. As my sister’s name (Jessi – not Jessica as she’s often called, nor Jessie or Jesse as it’s often spelled) presented a similar situation while growing up, I’m used to it and generally not too annoyed. My wife, however, gets a little upset sometimes.

    My brother had a fellow student who thought for years (from grade school) that ‘Miles’ was his last name. Finally, the student asked him what his first name was while in high school.

    I have a friend who’s last name is spelled “Fries” but pronounced ‘freeze’, which presents all sorts of interesting problems.

    Oh, Ralph, I have a friend who’s name is ‘Randi Bandi’, no joke. He’s got all sorts of interesting stories.

  40. I’ve had people spell mine as “Devin”, “Deven” and even “Devan”. Usually it’s the “i” that gets inserted. It used to bug me, but it doesn’t so much anymore.

  41. All my life people have misspelled my name by adding an extra ‘l’, but it’s not really an issue… lately I’ve noticed people writing ‘Calumn’ as well…

  42. I’ve been getting magazines and pre-approved credit cards for Brandon Collins since my sophmore year of college.

    I get called Brandon all the time, it actually angers my friends more than it affects me, I don’t really don’t even bother to correct people most of the time. Guess I’ve just gotten used to it…

    The best mispelling of my name to date though has to be “Brednon Caller,” I occasionally get mail addressed to that name

  43. Let’s see, E(l)+io(t)+ B(l?)(a|e|i|o)[ck]{1,2}. Even recruiters, bosses, friends all can’t spell my name, two l two t.

  44. I’ve had my last name misspelled and mispronounced (it’s May-Bree) more times than I can count. Typically they leave out the second A, or change it to an E. I’ve even had the occasional “McBray,” I guess because Oklahoma accents sound so Scottish. :-)

    Something I’ve learned is to spell my name, then pronounce it, when someone is writing it down. Because if I pronounce it first, they will write down how they think it’s spelled, even as I’m spelling it for them. I think that tells us something about how the mind works, but I’m not sure what.

  45. I have that problem all the time. When you make a reservation and you spell it to them over the phone and you think they go it right, but they don’t. So my wive had started a flickr set with pictures of our misspelled name on restaurant reservations and package deliveries.

  46. Some people tend to spell my last name “Johannson” or “Johannsen”. It’s JOHANSSON. One “n”, two “s”, no “e”. I’ve also had people spell my first name “Rodger” way too many times. No “d”, please. It annoys me, but not enough to make me contact people just to tell them how to spell my name.

  47. People(including some who should know better – like my mother) continually insist on spelling my name “Ellie” which annoys me no end.

    And I tend to have to specify that there is both and ‘h’ and a ‘p’ in my second name – I even took to pronouncing the p at one point, but it still got left out.

  48. Luckily mispronounciation of my name by English speakers doesn’t bother me, or I’d be a whole lot of bothered as, it being a dutch name, it usually takes people at least a dozen tries to get it right. (I stopped trying to get people closer to the right pronounciation a year or two ago, and now just nod and add another version to the mental list of sounds I try to respond to.) Sounds like “Sandor” and “Xander” seem to be the most common, both presumably (?) because they’ve been used in popular entertainment/’culture’ (ASoIaF and Buffy, respectively).

    What does bother me is people on message boards and other written forms of communication who read my name, and then consistently write “Sanders” when replying to me. This is so common that my current working hypothesis is that, as they don’t recognize “Sander” as a real name, they assume I was too stupid to spell my own name correctly, find the closest thing to it that they do recognize (with thanks to Winnie the Pooh, one assumes), and go from there.

  49. Heh-heh, YOU spelled my name incorrectly – http://meyerweb.com/eric/thoughts/category/tech/s5/page/2/

    I comment here rarely (mainly on S5 bugs) and use my first name only. So, Eric, pay attention, I should tell it only once – it has double i, not double t and it starts with P not B (you had that right, though).
    Anyway – I think that all this mess is because in Sacandinavia there is quite well-known female (me = male, btw) first name Brit? And there’s no double vocals in English? But I seem to get pretty good feedback from people who think I’m a Scandinavian Blond Nerdy Girl With Big Boobs :-)

  50. Hah! Try my name on for size. It gets mangled all the time.

  51. I’m constantly telling people on the phone, “that’s Tanny, it’s like Danny with a T”. I’ve been called Manny, Lanny, Danny, Kenny, Denny, but the worst for me was in Grade School when I was called sometimes called Tammy. Tammy is a female name in the US. I’ve always been male. I’ve always looked male. In ninth grade they put me in girls PE, even though I was listed as a male on my class schedule card. They didn’t let me stay and put me in boys PE. Sometimes I get mail to Ms Tanny OHaley.

    My last name is often misspelled by adding an extra L character. Sometimes they spell it O’Malley.

    Oh, well…

  52. My last name is often misspelled as Grass or Grave. Especially by a lot of people from the UK or US who can’t seem to grasp the concept of foreign names. And since Graf is, incidentally, the German word for ‘earl’ or ‘count’, they sometimes confuse my last name with an aristocratic title. Don’t get me started…

  53. E-mails from recruiters like to address me as ‘John’. Perhaps they’re suggesting that I’m not properly leveraging the power of my first name in today’s service-oriented web economy thing. Or perhaps they have the intelligence and literacy skills of molluscs. It’s so hard to tell, and I don’t have the energy to pry one of them off a rock and ask.

    O’Donnell causes problems all the time – the fairly obvious Odonnell, Odonell, Odonnel etc. (I have punctuation in my name, folks, get used to it) or, more excitingly, there are people (with clown fixations?) who address me as ‘McDonald’.

    Noone ever misspells my middle name (Edward).

  54. My first name often gets misspelled and mispronounced: the French way Olivier instead of Oliver. Little problem as it is, it really bugs me (for several reasons). The problem occurs mainly because French is an official language in Switzerland, whereas English is not.

  55. Fortunately, my name leaves little room for error when using the abbreviation as above. It ticks me off when people spell my full name samuAl instead of samuEl.

    Plus my last name is spelled Hardacre but for some reason people like ro pronounce it and spell it wrong. Even my bloody dentist spells it Hardaker!!


  56. Hi, I’m Jeffry Sneedon. And yes, that is genuine.

  57. When a case-insensitive system reports my last name as MACEWAN, the poor sap on the other end of the line usually takes a running leap at “mace-wahn”. Are you f-ing kidding me? What kind of name is that? I know what it looks like, champ, but can you tell me what nationality you think “mace-wahn” is? I’m guessing it’s a common surname in Elbonia…

    OK, that’s just in the pronunciation. Even when I say “Mac-Ewan” to people who have to spell it, they hear “McK-something” and it all goes horribly wrong from there. One person even tried to guess how to spell it and I had to cut them off at “M-C-Q-…” Actually, once it’s spelled right, it usually stays that way. It’s the mispronunciations that really frost me.

  58. Everyone always calls me Jessey instead of Simon, despite the peculiar spelling. Even when they’ve been told eleventy-billion times. Contractors and sales reps call me Mr. Simon too.

  59. Tracey most often turns into Tracy, but also Traci and Tracie. Verbally, it morphs into Stacy or Terry fairly often. At least people ask about the spelling more often than they used to.

  60. My last name is “Victor-Romeo-Tango-India-Sierra” as my uncle (in the Army) always says. Or as common for me: “V as in Victor, R as in Robert…no, there’s no e” (or i, as the case may be). Meanwhile I think “Did I stutter? Did ‘E as in Edward’ somehow slip out?” My brother even had a cop argue with him how to spell it (and the cop had his license!) Misspellings? When isn’t it? Urtis is probably the most common, followed by Yrtis. When pronounced, most people think you’re saying “Burtis.”
    Combine that with my unsual first name and I create all kinds of confusion. (Michee–just like Michelle, two e’s, no l’s, pronounced “me-she” not “mish-ee” or “mitch-ee”, not spelled Meschee, or Mishi or anyway else).
    I actually find it terribly amusing. I’m getting married this year and still haven’t decided if I’m taking his name or hyphenating–I just find the uniqueness of my last name too amusing.
    Although at least my name can be pronounced phonetically–my sister’s roommate’s last name was Klco (“kelso”).

  61. My name is constantly spelled wrong. My current manager who is an idiot and I have worked for for over 4 years still can not spell my name correctly. Even in responding to an email that clearly has my name on it he will type “Jessie Land”

    I think the world is fighting natural selection to much by putting do not eat stickers on poison.

  62. My last name is Ide. Being french speaking, I do not mind when my first name is mispronounced in English (chant-el instead of chan-tal) – actually, I think it sounds better than in french.

    But I hate it when my last name is mispronounced or misspelled! I should be ee-d, but I always get the Hyde (hello Dr. Jeckyll) or eedee. As for the spelling, I won’t give you a list, it’s wayyyyy too long ;)

  63. No problems with my surname (Roberts). Usually no probelm with spelling Penny but I sometimes get called Jenny, Peggy or Polly (even by people who’ve known me for years). I answer to all! Likewise my colleague Polly answers to Peggy and Penny, and Jenny answers to Penny! Penelope gets mispronounced Pen-elope but that is usually deliberate.

    I do get cold phone callers asking “Am I speaking to Mrs Browton?” (or “Brufton”) I reply no and that really throws them. I’m not Mrs Browton or Mrs Brufton on two counts 1: I use my own surname; and 2: Kev’s surname (written “Broughton”) is pronounced “Braw-ton”.

    BTW Eric: I have no problem writing your name but it was a shock the first time I heard it spoken (podcast). (In case you’re wondering… I thought it was ‘MAYuh’)

  64. LOL… I think you know what I’m going to say already, Eric. :)

    I don’t mind when folks misspell my first name (Kimberley, Kimbereley, etc.) but I absolutely hate it when people assume my nickname is ‘Kim’. It’s not, and no, you can’t call me that!

  65. When I moved to Chicago area 16 years ago from California, people called me Tutomu or Sutomu KobayasKi. Even if I spelled it to them, they wrote down as sKi insted. I politely suggested them practing my name in the bed at night staring at the ceiling, then they would get it by the time sun came up. If they didi not, there was no hope. (just kidding) :-). I sometimes refer to StarTrek (remember space ship. Kobayashi Maru) or movies “Usual Suspect” (bottom of the coffee cup).

  66. It’s not that my name gets misspelled, but that people often call me Wade. You’d think with a name like Ward people would remember it. I mean come on. Like everyone doesn’t think of Ward Cleaver when they meet me.

  67. Mine gets misspelled or mispronounced ALL the time!

    It’s 2 L’s with an EI….but I get people spelling it: Neal, Neil, Niel, even got a Nielle once.

    And the last name, Harmer (just like Farmer, but with an H) but I get it pronounced Hammer, Hamner, Homer, etc etc (the good news about that is I always know when telemarketers are calling my house!

    I totally feel your pain on this one Eric…

  68. It is difficult to keep the “p” out of my name, and get the “e” in.

  69. My last name is constantly butchered; the most common is one “t” on the end instead of two. I’ve also gotten “Willette” and “Wilet” as variations. Luckily it’s hard to screw up “Lance” though my Mexican friends sometimes can’t get the “ce” on the end to come out right so they go with “Lan” (pronounced lawn).

    That said, the mistakes only bother me if it’s from a friend, colleague, or family memeber who should know better.

  70. When my last name gets misspelled it is almost always intentional ;-)

  71. My first name is Brennan, my last name is Todd. I don’t mind when people call me “Brendan”, or even when they call me Todd. Both are completely understandable mistakes.

    It’s when they try to tell me that my name is backwards that gets to me. No, it’s not backwards. See, my fathers last name was Todd. When my mother married him, she took his last name. As is the custom here in the states, I, being the child of my father and my mother, also have Todd for my last name.

    You can get it wrong… that just means you’re careless or stupid. That doesn’t bother me – lots of people are careless or stupid. But don’t tell me I’ve got it backwards – I’ve been using the name my whole life, I’m pretty sure I’ve got it right.

  72. I get a sense of deja vu… Yep, even the same title: What’s in a name?

    Like I mentioned then (comment numer 57), I don’t usually get my name misspelled. However getting English speakers to pronounce my first name is next to impossible.

  73. My real name is Meredith (which no-one can spell), but I go by my nickname (Meri) in almost all situations. People tend to get it wrong a lot if they’ve not seen it written down — I get called Mary and at school was bullied for being “Merry” — but for folks who see it written first they tend to get it right.

    Elly on the other hand is much worse off — even her parents get it wrong! Her name gets misspelt as Eli, Ellie, Ely and all sorts!

  74. My family name is Bhagwandin, so you can imagine how much fun I have had over the years…

  75. I’ve seen many, many misspellings of my name (once upon a time, even by my Sunday school teachers). At work, although people need to spell my name correctly to have it looked up by the email address server, some will still misspell it in the salutation of the email.

    BTW, for me, the live comment preview is slowing down the echoback of the characters I type to a crawl.

  76. “Laurence” instead of “Laurens” is as bad as it gets, I suppose. Oh, and I guess that the Dutch pronunciation isn”t very en-US friendly too, although them English speaking people could at least try a little harder… I know I try to say people”s names the way they”re supposed to :). Anyway, I”d like for people to get it right, and I”m a sucker for spelling so I have to restrain myself a little to correct when I see it written wrong :), but oh well. It doesn”t happen so often, in writing, and in conversation I got used to it long ago.


  77. I get Derrick and Dereck all the time… I don’t understand, it’s more letters and more complicated than my name really is. And it doesn’t look as nice. Also people hear Eric all the time.

  78. Oh, and the Japanese (where I live atm) transliteration of my last name is apparantly “hoosuto”… I would think “horusuto” would be a better match, but then again that would sound more like “horst” which is also an existing Dutch surname. But still, leaving the l sound out… Kinda weird. Anyway, that”s how it was presented to me at first, I just stuck to it on a lot of other official documents, probably would be troublesome to change it now :).


  79. Yeah, I accidentally went to mayerweb.com a couple of times back in the old days.

    I’ve seen Paul Wait, Paul Waight and, very occasionally, Paul Weight.

  80. I usually have variants changing the “ie” to “ei”, a random vowel for the final “e”, and occasional double-esses. FRIESEN. I before E, people…

  81. In high school, my best friend had the same first and last name as me, spelling and all. That, plus the fact that our name is as vanilla as it gets for a couple of Irish boys from Boston, meant no misspellings. These days, when people misspell my name with a Y, it actually makes me feel like I finally have some individuality to my name—at least, until I correct them.

  82. For some reason someone in the past decided to insert a silent h into the spelling of my name. Or an extra vowel here and there. So I’ll get Meghan, or Meaghan. And, like others, I get this even when my email signature clearly says Megan. Like it sounds, people, plain and simple!

    I have learned to live with this and don’t bother correcting people. Meghan doesn’t bother me as much as Meg.

  83. I used to get Lynda a lot but not anymore (out of fashion I think).

    My sister Caron gets Karen/Karin a lot.

  84. my last name marino gets spelled all sorts of ways some I never would have thought. On top of that people immediately assume I am Italian, but I am Mexican/Spanish. Turns out last Name dates to Spanish nobility.

    The only time it bothers me is when junk mail or telemarketers get it wrong. I mean damn, if your gonna solicit me ya know I’m gonna be irritated don’t say or spell my name wrong, jeez!

  85. LASCURETTES. I bet you’re even afraid to say it, let alone attempt to spell it from memory.

  86. I get an ‘s’ added to Griffith all the time. I also get Griffin. I also have fun with my first name since on legal documents I use Christopher, and I can tell a lazy programmer when the mail or credit card has Christophe. Sorry, but only been through the airport in Paris….

    My driver’s license has my name (including middle) wrapped on two lines. I can always tell when a clerk is actually looking at my license against my credit card, when there is a bit of a pause.

  87. My name’s always spelt wrong – either starts with a P or a D. And my last name? It is Rangoonwala – pretty straightforward – it is spelt as it is pronounced. And yet, many people have trouble in both. Maybe, get tired just looking at the long last name?

  88. Here comes one. Burgin – BURGIN. I get Borgin, Burgwin, Bergen, Bergan, Bergin, Birgin.

  89. Misspelled? Almost never. OTOH, I am at times asked “How do you spell your last name?” by people who have forgotten it, who are then embarrassed when I spell it out…

  90. My paternal grandmother (who I loved dearly and with whom I had a wonderful relationship) always spelled my name C-h-r-i-s-t-a, in every birthday card and every Christmas card, my entire life. It never bothered me a bit, because even when I was a small child, first able to recognize the miss spelling, I somehow knew our relationship transcended that.

  91. My last name is constantly butchered into C-H-E-R-N-E-Y. Doesn’t surprise me anymore. Doesn’t help with cherny.com though. Probably should register the other but, oh well. My wife’s maiden name was way easier and we still use it when asked to give a name and so on, just because.

    Worst I think I ever saw was “Cheurney”. I have no idea where that came from.

    What gets me more is the people who insist on calling me “Bob” because of the whole “Robert” thing. Rob’s fine, thanks. Don’t ever assume. I hate that.

  92. Gram or Grahm. “Its Graham like the cracker” is what I always tell people. For some reason people think thats funny.

  93. My first name, Jody, is spelled with a “y”. I’m male, and I understand that “Jody” is one of those cross-gender names sometimes spelled with an “i” or “ie”. It only bothers me when someone responds to an email I have clearly signed “Jody” and still manages to spell it wrong. That’s just stupid and it bugs the hell out of me.

    My last name is Daub. I see it spelled as “Dob” and “Dobb” fairly often. That’s because it’s pronounced that way. People don’t know how to pronounce “Daub”, even though it’s in the dictionary and carries the same pronunciation.

  94. Depends on the day. Voght, Voigt, Voight, Voit.

    It’s not that hard, honestly. It’s not a terribly uncommon name either.

    It’s pronounced like ‘vote,’ for the record (unless you happen to be German and pronouncing it properly).

  95. Foreigners often spell my last name “Olsen”, as if I were Danish.
    Some of my compatriots insist on inserting an extra “h” and make it “Ohlsson”.

    It doesn’t bother me all that much. I’ve been #1 in Google for a couple of years for the correct spelling, though. :)

  96. And I always thought it was “Eric Mayor”. Doh!

    Just kidding. ;-) Anyway, “Asbjørn Ulsberg” doesn’t get either pronounced nor written correctly unless people can copy+paste it from somewhere. It doesn’t help pronouncation, though. Although my names mean “The Bear God” and “The Wolf Cliff”, most (English speaking) people pronounce it as if it means “The Birth of an Ass on the Cliff of Mythical Monsters who can Change Shapes into Anything” (Ass Born Ols Berg). Not very encouraging.

  97. Well, Volkan is the easy part. Anyone familiar with a “volcano” can somehow spell it. But it’s mispelled none the less:

    Vulcan, Volcan an even I’ve heard Volkein

    Thanks to the fame of Tantek Çelik, 99% of people spell the “çelik” part of my surname correctly.

    But I admit, Özçelik is a difficult surname to spell.

    Volkan Özçelik

  98. Sure it gets misspelled from time to time :0)

    But when they do get it right, there’s no problem tracking me down via Google !!

    My eldest daughter is Elisabeth with and “S” so she ends up with two names that need to be spelt out loud, so I mustn’t really grumble.

  99. I have to teach people in the most part of the world, about how to spell or right my name, and since i remember myself i was always fighting against such misspellings as “negrobauer”, “nikrobauer”, “niggrobour”, “neighbor” etc. As for bothering, you know, after reading all the 97 comments above me, i think i should pay less attention to it. =O) One thing i always remember to calm down in such situations are words of my father – “you may call me what you wish, you may call me even a ‘teapot’, but i won’t let you make tea on my head”

    funny stuff:
    The software company where i worked before have made a record of misspelling my name 5 times in a official written communication during 1 week.

    I have 3 credit cards from the same bank with 3 “different names”, so i am a kind of a “usual suspect” when it comes to writing or spelling my name. haha =O)

  100. Well… To start with my first name, Peeter, no one ever gets that spelled right unless I’m in Estonia – and even when I spell it out for people most can’t really believe I’m not mistaken. And then it often gets pronounced “payter” as if it were dutch, whereas it is in fact Estonian, and pronounced with a long “e”, but as that sound doesn’t exist in many languages, such as English, I tend to make do with the local pronunciation of “Peter”.

    My surname, Randsalu, has been mangled in I don’t know how many ways, Kandsalv, Rantzau, Rantzen, Rantsalau… It seems as if people stop listening after they think they’ve correctly understood the first syllable. At one time it was even spelled with a “v” on my ID card, which didn’t cause me any trouble, strangely enough. Goes to show how much people actually look at those things…

  101. My mother named me Carolyn. I get a lot of mail that is addressed to “Caroline”. And my last name is Dutch. My relatives on my dad’s side say it is supposed to be prounounced “Prince” but everyone here in the US says “Prinz”. So that’s how people usually spell it.

  102. My last name is “Wolf”…Even when I spell my last name and provide the additional “Just like the animal” people still ask if that’s “Wolf” with an “e” or an extra “f” at then end

  103. The most common error I see is when they spell it ‘omg you freak’.

  104. Jesse is a huge one. Jesse Lands touched on it but I need to go deeper. I have made it a personal goal in life to educate the general public that Jessie is short for Jessica. In other words, unless you know a boy named Jessica, it’s a pretty safe bet to say he’s Jesse, not Jessie.

    My name is misspelled EVERYWHERE, even on my debit card. Last year my birthday card from my Grandma was even spelled wrong! I was heartbroken.

    Just remember “i” before “e” except when it’s HE!

  105. I once in a rare while get Stephen. My last name has shown up as Fischer. I won’t even go into my middle name! It doesn’t bother me too much – it’s not worth the energy to get bothered by it.

  106. Spelling my last name from pronunciation (HAIR-eh-muh) is usually an effort in futility. Probably makes it a bad choice for a domain name, eh?

  107. typically if I know someone is writing down my name or looking it up in the system I’ll say my name and then

    one l two s’s and no e – those are where people always go wrong

    – m

  108. I’ll start out with saying that my name is pronounced like Michael. Which tends to be a problem for people. Then we get to the spelling part.

    “What’s your name?”
    – “It’s Maykel”
    *writes down*

    On this paper we will be able to find the following: Michael, Mikael, Mikle, Maikel, Majkel, Mikel, Michel, Maijkel or even Maikol. And just so you know, it doesn’t stop there.

    So nowadays I just flash my ID card, if it’s really important that my name be spelled right.

  109. General manager of one company where I worked was named ‘Brian Neal’ which, in one of the best typos I’ve ever seen, garnered him at least one letter addressed to ‘Brain Meal’

  110. My name is Niko, which is a Greek name but I live in the Netherlands where Niko isn’t an uncommon name, only in the Netherlands they spell it with a c not a k. In Greek you spell it with a k because first of all it is a k-sound and secondly there is no c in the Greek alphabet. So it ALWAYS get’s spelled wrong when I tell somebody my name, sometimes even with a written application of some sorts I get a confirmation letter back with my name spelled wrong.

    It doesn’t bother me that much because I know the common spelling is different, it does bother me though when people keep spelling it wrong, for instance in email-conversations or letters. Whoever does that gets a reply with their name spelled wrong!

  111. for me it’s the ‘i’ thing. i spel ‘tiffany’ the *right* way. with a ‘Y’. the ‘i’ thing bugs me.

  112. but apparently i only spell “spell” with one ‘L.’

  113. I CONSTANTLY get my last name spelled LaPage, not LePage. I have watched people type l-a-p-a-g-e into the computer AFTER I’ve spelled my name for them. Maybe I should start writing my name as PEte lEpage!

  114. Dude.

    How long you got?

  115. Do you even have to ask?

    When I have to tell people how to spell my name I say, “It’s Gini. G…” and just wait. 95% of the time they write a “J” and I have to correct them.

  116. My name is Shannon…two “N”s in the middle no “R”…and yet, even people who have known me for years will call me Sharon or Sheryl. When they do get the pronunciation correct, they spell it wrong (Shanon or Shanan or Shannan). So I thought I could solve it by going by a shortened form of my name…Shan. Nope. It’s still Sharon, or sometimes Shane. I don’t have an accent or drawl that makes it sound funny…people just don’t listen!!

    My last name isn’t mispronounced as much, but it still gets many misspellings thanks to an aging rock star who shares a similar name. And you wouldn’t believe how many people ask me if I’m related to him! Yeah, right. He’s from England…I’m from a podunk town in the Northwest…and he’s ugly! ;^)

  117. David Cesarino (Cesarino is italian). I’ve heard Cassino, Cassiano, Cessiano, all kinds of names, but certainly not the right one.

  118. This thread has brought all of us with mis-spellable names out of the woodwork!

    My mother once apologized to me for spelling my name “differently.” I told her not to apologize — the relative uniqueness is worth the frequent misspellings.

  119. My name is Olya Finnegan (Russian, married to an American with an Irish last name). Once a telemarketer called and asked for “Ms. Olaiya Fainegan.” I felt justified in telling her that nobody by that name lived here ;-)

    Other than that, I get a lot of “Olay” and “Ole” and whenever anybody says “Oh yeah” I tend to look around in case they are talking to me. Still, beats being called Olga (which is how my full first name is spelled in English, because there is no equivalent to the Russian “soft sign” that follows the “l”). Some people at work now think that my name is spelled with a “g” but pronounced with a “y”…

  120. Raif is my first name. It’s been misspelled every time all my life. In no particular order versions are usually Rafe, Ralph, Raid, Raf, Raph and Ray, though I know there have been others. My second doesn’t fare much better… these things make for convenient icebreakers :-)

  121. Luoma.

    Pronounced “Lu.oh.ma”

    Rhymes with “diploma”

    When giving it to people over the phone I no longer tell people what it is, but instead say “I’ll spell it for you, it’s 5 letters: L U (pause) O (pause) M A.

    Because as soon as people here “Lu” they write “Lou”


    It’s helpful with the telemarketers though, especially the ones whose autodialers just connect to whoever answers and then connects that call with some random telemarketer who has 2 seconds to look at the screen to figure out how to pronounce your name.

    “Is Mr L– Lu-oh… Low-u-mah..” (that click you hear is me hanging up on your annoying telemarketing ass.)

    It’s annoying because it’s pretty easy if you give it any effort whatsoever you ought to be able to get it.

  122. My name is in the Link, I have to let my name pronounce differently in germany and the states… that sucks ;)

  123. Funny thing, I deal with the exact same issues every day and since I work as web developer I often get complemented on and questioned about your books. I can”t tell you how many times I”ve had to say “no sorry that”s not me” although it would have helped out in a few job interviews. I get Meyers more then Erick. I have friends that have called me Eric Meyers for years. It drives me crazy but I never have the heart to correct them.

  124. With a last name of D’Agosta, it gets kind of hard. It’s Italian, but for some reason along the line my family no longer pronounced as it should be pronounced. Now it’s officially pronounced as dee-uh-gawh-stuh*, which is only one of the ways people actually pronounce it (out of a seemingly infinite number of pronunciations).

    Also, like Edward wrote in comment #11, it’s especially difficult to enter a last name like mine online. It’s often recorded as D/’Agosta, if the form even accepts it at all.

    *Please excuse me for not knowing the IPA. :-P

  125. See that name?

    Despite the fact that most of Southwestern Ohio has heard of “Rocky and Bullwinkle” and thus Boris and Natasha (my namesake)…

    L’s replace N’s, M’s replace N’s, E’s and I’s replace A’s and sometimes crucial letters such as A’s and H’s are forgotten all together. Note, there’s three A’s. Three! Not two. Not one. Three. Please, for the love of God, use them all!

    (I know….new response to not-quite-so-recent entry.)

  126. It annoys me when people mis-spell my name, it’s not hard at all!
    Imogen! People spell it:
    imagine – that’s not even a name and it doesn’t even sound like imogen
    some people think my name is Emma just because they think it’s emmagen
    imijon – what is that chinese?!!?

    Then there’s my surname!
    I can see why people wouldn’t put the small “c” then the capital “P” but sometimes people spell it:
    Phillips – they seem to think the McP has no meaning
    mcphilips – 2 Ls why would it be any different to Phillip?
    Macphillips – as if we are the phillips’ but got employed by mAcdonalds!

    Middle name is grace so thats ok!

  127. You’ve probably had enough of these stories by now, but here’s mine anyway:

    I spell ‘Damian’ in what seems to me the obvious way. The most common misspelling of my name is Damien, as used in the Omen trilogy. I have met people spelled Dameon and Damion.

    My surname ‘Cugley’ would sometimes come back as Cugleigh or Cuddley. This seems to happen less often nowadays; maybe people know to copy & paste surnames… :-)

  128. How can anyone get LOU from Will, I realize I might mumble slightly on occasion, BUT LOU is not even close to W I L L. Have you cleaned your ears lately?

  129. It is a serious pain, when my teacher, swim teachers, friends ect. Spell my name ‘Ellie’ when it’s spelt ELLY. ‘Elly’ is easier to spell than ‘Ellie. I don’t know why they won’t get it through their head.

    Secondly people always spell my last name wrong. They spell it Rashley, Rashly or Rashlie. When it is spelt ‘Rashleigh’!!

    Thank you for reading.
    P.S Age: 10 Grade: 5

  130. it is so annonying when people spell my name wrong.it dosn’t sound like somthing that would bother you but it really does they spell my name like this Catlyn Caitlyn Katelyn Katelin Katlyn when it is really spelt Caitlin how hard is it to spell CAITLIN??

    secondly they always spell my last name wrong like Readon Reardron when it is really spelt like this Reardon why cant they just remember it and go on with life happily and if they cant then they can just write the letter R

  131. some write “Rubinie” and some “Rubine´”. If I look through the snailmail I can´t believe it sometimes. It actually is pronounced french. “Robine” is nearly okay for me – if got used to it.

    I having a big fun with the previous comments…

  132. Sean,I’ve been called scene,seeann.I tell them like Sean Connery.

  133. I have a pretty simple name: Bill Brown. One would expect there would rarely be any trouble with it. Both components are in spell check dictionaries and both are words in the English language. I never go by William unless you’re my grandmother, a police officer or handing me my lottery check.

    It’s unthinkable to try and get any kind of email address, domain name or username with any connection to my real name on any website, but that’s not terrible. Gives me a good explanation for using “LadiesMan007” on my Gmail account (kidding).

    Years ago, while hurrying out the door to have dinner with some friends, I received a telemarketer call offering a free magazine subscription for six months. Yeah, fine, it’s free, go ahead and send me your magazine, right? Well, the woman needed my name and address. Address first, no problem. Now to name: “Bill Brown,” I reply. “I’m sorry?” comes her response. “Bill Brown,” I repeat as slowly as one can possibly repeat only two syllables. “Can you spell that for me, please?” she asks. Incredulously, I say, “Bill, B-I-L-L, and Brown, like the color.” Two weeks later, along comes my shiny new magazine addressed to (you guessed it): Bill Brownlikethecolor. Spelled perfectly. That magazine and the subsequent five volumes which came later as part of that call remain in my library because it’s just too damn funny.

    Otherwise, I’m pretty fortunate to have few problems with my name.

  134. Instead of getting annoyed think…It’s better to have been address miscorrectly, then to never have been addressed at all.

  135. Interesting, my name is spelled meyr and is always mistaken for Meyer. My brother is erich meyr, with an h. How does this bug me? Well I have to correct everyone and I cannot figure out how I ended up with one e and not two.

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