Hi Duana,

I love your name-nerd column! My husband and I have hit the name-nerd jackpot: we're expecting twins soon! A boy and a girl. We have a long, hard to pronounce last name, so we want to keep our babies names on the simpler side. We also want their names to match without being too matchy. We're having trouble narrowing down our choices and I'm afraid I'll go into labour before we decide! I'll give your our top 3 for each and then let you comment freely. For our boy, we're considering Asher, Adam, or Blaise. His middle name will be James (I know, I know...but it's a family name! I tried to convince my husband to name our daughter James, but he wasn't having it!). For our girl, we're considering Aura or Ora, Eden, or Adele. We aren't sure about her middle name yet, but it will have one syllable. We want them to have names that are easy to spell and pronounce, that will pass the supreme court judge test, and that will suit them no matter who they turn out to be. We also don't want them to share their name with every other person they meet. Thanks for your wisdom! 


First of all, don’t blame James. I get you wanting to do things that are outside the box, but it’s a good name and one of the rare ones that ends in a plural. Like I love that James is the collection of this Jame and that Jame and they all add up to James.  I might be a nerd.

But what strikes me about your choices is you have a lotta lotta vowels. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but you should be aware of it.   

So say for the sake of argument he’s Asher James. Nice, the biblical but not overly common with the “rooting” of James. I quite like it, actually. Asher long last name.   Asher James long last name. My thought, though, is that you only really have one girl’s name to match. Asher James and his sister Adele Claire (you’re welcome).   Boom, QED. You could go with Adam instead, but it seems as though your tastes run to the slightly ephemeral – hence Blaise, right? Blaise James is a bit too samey, because they seem to rhyme, so it’s my least favourite.  

The problem comes with your other two girls’ names, which I don’t buy quite as much. Here’s the thing with Eden – it’s one of those names that seems to imply perfection, and then inevitably there’s cognitive dissonance when it doesn’t measure up. Eden, the land of wonder and beauty. What if Eden has a runny nose all the time, or spends hours outside the principal’s office? It’s one thing for a kid not to measure up to our expectations, but when you’re basically calling the child “Perfect”, the contrast between the name and their behavior is just highlighted in a way that it isn’t when you call the kid Ian.

So I would suggest that that one’s not quite the same strength of contender. Aura has a different problem. It’s undefinable. First of all, it’s a soft collection of syllables, but second of all, what’s an Aura? A coloured, fuzzy thing that most people can’t see around someone’s head? A feeling you get? It’s unclear, and it makes the name unclear.  

Instead, how about Ariel? Ariel and Asher? Or Tamar? Or hey – because it seems you’re on a bible tip and I had no idea and I was reminded of this name yesterday so how about Rhoda? Rhoda and Asher?  

Okay fine, maybe it’s a bit incongruous. Eva? Or Eve? This is a naming convention I don’t agree with – people stayed away from Eve because it was supposed to be a temptress name or something. I’ve never felt that way and it would be a nice break from all the Evelyns. Also, some more short girl middles for you: Jane (of course).  Ruth? Beth? Greer? (I’m never going to stop pitching Greer.)

Did I help at all? I love Asher James. Take a cue from that. These kids will have awesome names.