Spell My Name Right
“I don’t care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right.”
No one knows who said it first, but anyone who has ever written for a newspaper or magazine has heard some version of this quotation. It’s a thought to be taken to heart by anyone–journalist or not–who has occasion to write someone else’s name on an envelope or in a comment box. People don’t just dislike having their given names misspelled, they suffer feelings of rejection when the person who does the misspelling is a relative, friend, teacher, or business associate.
Here are a few typical complaints:
How many times do I have to tell them?
Even when it’s there in front of them, they misspell it!
Is it that hard?
Even some of my own family members misspell it.
My name is so common you really have to go out of your way to misspell it.
Long before the modern trend of deliberately altering the conventional spelling of traditional names became popular in naming babies, careless people misspelled ordinary names like Michael and Margaret, reversing letters (Micheal) or leaving them out (Margret).
Sometimes people pay so little attention to spelling that they come up with a different word altogether. For example, I sometimes receive emails addressed, “Dear Mauve.”
Note: Mauve is a shade of purple; Maeve is a woman’s name. The words don’t even sound alike.
Now that many new parents intentionally give difficult-to-spell names to their offspring, attention to spelling has become a social issue that affects everyone, not only professional writers.
Personal feelings about unconventional spellings like Mychal for Michael, Jaxon for Jackson, or Jesaca for Jessica are irrelevant. If you know people well enough to address them by name, have the courtesy to learn how to spell their names.
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