How often must you spell out your name when someone asks for it?


Some of you, like the Dans, the Joes, the Emmas and the Matts out there, probably don’t have to spell out your name too often when people ask for it. But perhaps the Katherines out there, or the Caitlyns, or the Megans, always have to spell their names, even though they’re common names. Is it Katherine? Kathyrn? Katharine? Catherine? Catharine? Just Cathy? Katie? Kate?

On the list of 2020’s most popular baby names, some are easy to spell, others may be hard. For example, the third most popular baby girl’s name is Maeve. She’s probably going to be spelling that one out for her whole life. Same with Ophelia (number 8) and Aurelia (number 11). As far as the most popular boy’s names, Silas (the fifth most popular baby boy name of 2020) may have some trouble, and so may Atticus (number 6).

What about you? Is your name easy to pronounce but hard to spell, or vice versa? Is your name easy to both pronounce and spell, but you find yourself spelling it out anyway? Please vote in the poll below and feel free to leave a comment too.

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Mike & Cathi Stark
11 months ago

As a Cathi (Cathleen) if I am only talking on the phone and the spelling is not important, I don’t bother Kathy sounds the same as Cathi. In the RV park I generally identify myself as “Cathi” with a C and an I. That helps separately identify the difference between the multiple “Kathy”s that were all named back in the 1950s

Mike & Cathi Stark
11 months ago

If I do have to give a full name I say “Stark” as in Stark Raving Mad. my DH is a Mike (not Michael) but is frequently call Mark since it rhymes with Stark.

wishing I was Ron Paul
11 months ago

I don’t mind spelling. I just volunteer because inevitably they say Mark, “is that with a C or a K”?

I do mind when they still get it wrong. Last name, I try my best. I say Birnbaum…
B, as in boy,
I, R,
N as in never,
B as in boy,
A, U,
M as in marry.
Less than 50% will get it right. I have a radio announcer’s voice with great diction. I speak slowly knowing they are pecking at the keyboard and put in pauses by the usual trouble spots.
I got BRINBAUM, BIRDBUM, BIRMBAUN, and about a dozen other permutations.

For restaurant reservations I have been “Jones” for 3 decades. I used to be “Smith”, until they ask me how to spell that. (What would it matter? Smith, Smythe, you’re just going to shout it with indifference in 30 minutes.)

11 months ago

First name: Jon I always spell it first, then say it. Still gets spelled wrong!
Last name: Hubbell Oh, are you related to the Space Telescope? (hee – hee) Nope, just sounds the same. I usually spell it first, too, before saying it.

Suellen Jeffrey
11 months ago

Simple? Suellen. Had a drafting teacher call me by my last name (couldn’t believe he had a girl in his class) and a science teacher call my “Sue Lin” all year. It’s pronounced “Sue Ellen”. Scarlet O’Haras sister in Gone with the Wind. 😂

Dale Sain
11 months ago

Last name always. When trying to read it out loud, waaaay too many don’t want to say the word, “sane.” But Sain is just like rain, Spain, main, plain. At my airline, the gate agent was frantically waiting for the captain to arrive. Upon seeing me coming into the full cul-de-sac of gates, she said in a loud voice , “Are you Sain?” EVERYBODY turned to me. Hey, I try.

Alan Ford
11 months ago

First name, Alan, can be spelled Allen or Allan. My version is the Olde English way. My mother thought Alan Ladd was dreamy, so I’m Alan. For correct spelling, I have used, “spelled like Alan Ladd.” Of course, few young people have any idea who that is. Last name, Ford, no problem at all.

11 months ago

Jayne, WITH a “Y”! Spelled out when it actually matters, including ‘fixing’ my 1st grade Dick and Ja(y)ne reader. Three German surnames, too, alternating ‘IE’ with ‘EI’, fun. 😄

Cheryl Bacon
11 months ago

Almost always and it is very annoying. Good grief, how hard is it to spell Bacon? The best part is when I married my husband over 40 years ago, I actually thought people would finally pronounce and spell my last name correctly. Forget the first name too, I just have given up. Sigh humans…

11 months ago
Reply to  Cheryl Bacon

As my last name is Bacon I have the same problem. It just seems too simple I guess.

Jon Meyer
11 months ago

First name always. My mother had a cousin that spells it the same way. He told me we had the “H” knocked out of us

Einar Hansen
11 months ago

With a first name like mine, not only do I need to spell it out for them. But I need to pronounce it for them as well. So over the years I have gotten use to just Hey You 😊

Phil Atterbery
11 months ago

My last name has been spelled several ways. To avoid that, I created a standard sized business card to give to the park’s clerk at check-in. I used our laptop and free Avery software then printed them on our own printer. The same thing could be done with a screenshot on a cell phone

11 months ago

Always, this marriage, and I have to volunteer it because usually, I’m NOT asked. (The story is too long). And always, my maiden name, a German name. Even my prior married name … Fox, 3 letters! THREE!

After spelling Fox many times for phone orders, I got frustrated one day when a certain hut for pizza asked me, again, how that’s spelled. (I guess they might have been thinking Redd Foxx of Sanford & Son … on TV at the time), but out of that frustration, I said F-A-U-C-K-S-E.

Well, they did good. That’s exactly what the ticket said when the pizza came.
I divorced that husband eventually, but I still chuckle at being repeatedly asked to spell a 3-letter name.

Ron H.
11 months ago

Last name, Hough, is pronounced correctly in several ways, depending on the country of origin. In my case, it’s pronounced “Huff” so I automatically spell it every time.

Donald N Wright
11 months ago

It is “Donald as in Donald Duck”, It is Wright as in Wright Brothers”. Guess what comes in the mail ?
Dear Mr. Duck Brothers”.

Michelle Smedley
11 months ago

That’s a quack up…sorry, couldn’t resist

Ron L
11 months ago

Last name is Lane…you’d be surprised how many people think I say Payne. Also, since there are three different spellings of my name, I have just learned to always spell it out for them….been doing this since the 60’s.

11 months ago

Seems like anymore even common names have alternate spellings. Cindy, Cyndy, Cyndi, Sindi….the list goes on and on.

11 months ago

I have to spell my first, middle, last, street, city, and internet address. I avoid ordering anything over the phone.

I had cheap business cards made because even after I spell everything in person something is often misspelled.

Diane M
11 months ago

My cousin’s last name is Rajca. A Polish name, pronounced “Right-sah.” it’s been a nightmare for her her whole life!

11 months ago

Barry. Don’t know why so many people spell it Berry. I’m not a fruit.

Kenneth Veit
11 months ago

Every time,Veit, pronounced Vight