Hi Duana!

I wrote you a name nerd question a little over a month ago and since then the question has morphed. I originally asked your opinion on Margo vs. Amara.  We have since decided on Margo but are now agonizing over Margo vs. Margot spelling. I think we both like Margot a little better but are worried about people mispronouncing her name as "Mar-GOT". Whereas Margo will always be pronounced correctly. On the other hand, Margot is probably the more common spelling so if we go with Margo people will probably frequently misspell it. I know there's no perfect answer but I guess the dilemma we have is - choose the spelling we like better or try to make her life a little less annoying and choose the spelling that will result in less mispronunciations?

Also, we are stuck on middle names. We were thinking of picking a "J" name so she has the option of going by "MJ" as a nickname, but I don't love most of the J names I've seen. We've tossed around Juniper (she is due in June after all) but I can't decide if that's too cutesy. It should be more than 1 syllable since our last name is one syllable. Other names we've considered are Junia, Amara, Penelope, Elizabeth (my middle), and Serena. We don't feel super strongly about significance of middle names or anything, just trying to pick something with a nice flow. Any thoughts on those names or new suggestions?

LAST, I had a thought I wanted to suggest to you. Since you probably get so many letters and have a hard time responding to all of them, I was thinking maybe you could set up some kind of live-message thing for an hour every once in a while like celebrities do on reddit. So you can spitball live with people about name suggestions and get immediate feedback.


Pardon me while I run off to set up my name AMA… I love this idea! For this wonderful contribution, I will…weigh in on your baby name!

Ha. So I’m glad that you settled on Margo(t?). I do think Amara is gorgeous but I’m always going to default to Margot, because it’s one of my all-time favourites. And yeah, I’ve noticed that even though you’re consciously writing Margo without the T, I do I always default to it. I love it. It feels French, and it looks complete. Here are the reasons why: first of all, if she later feels compelled to drop it, well, no problem, at least she has it to begin with. It’s a gorgeous name, it looks different than any other names her friends will have, and it will grow with her into an adult.

So I say go with Margot. One of the most wonderful things about living in a multicultural world as we do is that there is more and more understanding of names from all origins. As there should be.  It’s not hard to learn to pronounce any name, if we make an effort, and as such, Margot is not hard in the least. People understand how to pronounce Johan, they have gotten on board with Siobhan. It’s going to be fine for your Margot – better than fine. It’s going to be beautiful. 

So I’m not even sure you need to have her shorten it! I have to confess that I’ve never been a huge fan of the JP, MJ, EP type nicknames, with the possible exception of a CeCe. But if you do, I’d think about Juno or Jacinta or the perennial Jane? Or go for a fakeout with Djuna, and get the best of both worlds? I like Penelope and Serena both, and it seems like you like a multi-syllable name to go with Margot, so in terms of syllables, how about Cordelia or Lydia or even Valeria? If you’re feeling kind of crazy, how about Zillah?

A note to name-nerd letter writers,

I love getting your letters. In order to give them the best chance of being answered in a timely fashion, could I please trouble you to include the due date in the subject line of your email? Also, please send only one email – duplicates are deleted and may result in your email not being answered. Thanks!