names & spelling

Never worry about bad press. All that matters is if they spell your name right.

-Kate Hudson

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at


Pet peeve #1:  people who cannot spell my name correctly – even when it is written at the bottom of an email they are responding to.

… I look forward to hearing back from you regarding this matter.

Regards, Kellie.

Dear Kelly,

Thank you for your email query …

Aaargh!! Really?

Maybe I should take the blame for this? Maybe I’m being overly sensitive? After all, I do have a name that can be spelled multiple ways … Kellie, Kelly, Kelli. But seriously, how long does it take to check the spelling of a person’s name? (It also bugs me that Kelly is also both a boy’s name and a surname … but that’s another story.)

All my life, I have resented people who don’t even try to spell my name correctly, or worse, people who have been corrected multiple times, but still can’t get it right.

Then, I married Karl. This name can also be spelt with a C … Carl.

Everywhere we go, whenever we have to spell our names, we are forced to say, ‘Kellie … with an i – e,’ or ‘Karl with a K.’ Sometimes people still get it wrong. Then they wonder why we get stroppy.

Oh yes, and, ‘Nissen … no, it’s an e-n. Yes, I know it sounds like the car, but that’s an a.’

But wait, there’s more.

You would think if we experienced this level of frustration with our own names, we would be more mindful of the names we gave our children.

Think again.

First, we have Ashlea. Like my name, this can be spelled many ways: Ashleigh, Ashley, Ashlee, Aisling, Ashlie. Then, to add to the insult, we gave her the middle name of a boy, spelled the girl way: Peta. Very few people seem to be aware of this.

Next, along came Geordie. Not only can nobody spell his name, they all want to write Jordy or Jordie, but some people can’t even pronounce it. Telling these people that Geordie actually comes from George only adds to the confusion.

The ultimate moment, however, came when someone tried to tell me that Geordie’s name was shortened.

Me:          … and this is Geordie.

Tool:       Oh … hello Jordan.

Me:          No … it’s Geordie.

Tool:       But that’s short for Jordan… (turning to Geordie) … you don’t mind if I call you Jordan, do you?

Me:          I do … his name is Geordie … G … E … O … R … D … I … E.

Tool:       Wow. That’s an unusual name.

Me:          You are an idiot.

This is a totally true story. I kid you not. (Well, except for the last line, which I think I only thought.)

Despite me digging my family into the huge hole of name confusion, I still think it shows a lack of respect when you do not make the effort to spell names correctly. Believe me, I will keep on correcting you, so you might as well get it right the first time.

And don’t get me started on shortening names. I will only call someone by their shortened name, or nickname, if that is how they introduce themselves to me, and I am unaware of their actual name.

I may be the only person who feels this way, but your parents gave you a name for a reason, probably because they liked it. I think we should honour that … unless it is a somewhat ridiculous name like: Richard Richards or Hazel Knut (another true story).

If you yourself prefer to go by your shortened name, I will honour that, but I will not shorten it for you … and I expect the same courtesy.

I will NEVER, EVER introduce myself as Kel.

I really, really hate being called Kel.

Nobody calls me Kel for too long, except my Grandmother who can get away with anything.

So, please … spell my name correctly … and don’t call me Kel.


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