How to avoid muddling the middle name

Written by    Last updated: March 8, 2007

Follow Confetti Baby’s top tips for getting the most out of the middle name. See it as an opportunity for creating harmony and balance in the whole name, rather than merely a ‘back‐up’ name…

Dos

  • Balancing act

    If first name is traditional, you can use the middle name to be creative. If you have chosen an exotic first name try something a bit more staid for the second name.

  • Enliven a name

    For common surnames, such as Smith or Jones, middle names are an opportunity where you can be adventurous.

  • How it fits

    Write it down to see how it looks when combined with the first and last name. If the first name is short you could choose a longer middle name or vice versa. Say the whole name aloud to make sure that the middle name you’ve selected hits the right tempo and rhythm.

  • Initials

    Make sure that adding the initial of the middle name, does not accidentally spell a rude word or create undesirable acronym (like Faye Anna Turner= FAT)

  • Nickname potential

    Consider making either the first name or the middle name one that comes with nicknames. It allows the child to have an endearing ‘baby’ name while growing up and still use the full version for official use.

  • Family bonds

    Think about making at least one of the two names one that has family connections.  In many cultures children are given names of deceased relatives as a way of ensuring continuity and in the case of naming after living family members as a means of creating a sense of bonding between them.

  • Heritage

    Names that acknowledge a cross‐cultural heritage can be a reminder of the advantages of having a foot in more than one world. With increasing numbers of partnerships being inter‐faith or cross‐cultural, it’s an important part of the child’s identity and middle names provide the perfect opportunity for this.

Don’ts

  • Rhyming

    Generally rhyming is not a good idea when it comes to names as it distracts attention from the names and focuses it on the act of rhyming instead. It is not only whether it appears rhymed when written down but also when it is spoken and how the syllables in the names are stressed. Avoid having exactly the same number of syllables in the first two names. 

  • Repetition:

    Using the same letter of alphabet or even the same sounding needs to be done with some care.  It is worth writing the name down (both in full and with initials) to see how it appears and also finding out what others think of it. A name like James Jameson can be quite interesting but Karl Carlson may require some getting used to.

  • Ending and beginnings

    Avoid having the same sound at the end of one name and the beginning of the next, such as Hubert Bertrand Carter.  It makes it hard to pronounce and has the visual effect of crashing into the name next to it.

  • It’s a part

    Don’t forget that a middle names work best when they combine well with the first and last names. Unlike first and last names they are almost never used on their own and must always be judged as part of a complete name.  It must all add up to something that both looks and sounds right.  The best names have a rhythm, a sound and an elegance, that just work…

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