Duana Names: Twin sets

Duana Posted by Duana at January 7, 2013 17:28:18 January 7, 2013 17:28:18

Hi Duana,

I am due in 3 months with twins, a boy and girl and wondering your thoughts on the following sets of names.
Jed / Rhea
Charlie / Cara
Nevin / Everly
Sam / Abby

You can be brutally honest, we are not set on any of these names and feel like we need some direction.


Wow. The grass is always greener, right? For a certain brand of name nerd,  what you have represents the ultimate: to be able to name a matching “set” of both genders at once. The flip side, of course, is that the two names have to “go together” but not “match”,  that there are an inordinate number of variables, and that the abililty to second-guess yourself is infinite when you’re dealing with two names.

What’s most interesting about the lists you’ve sent is that they all have such different tones. You’re clearly making decisions about how “the twins” will be seen as a pair, rather than each kid individually. I don’t know that I would do it any differently but it does seem like you have a bit of a scattershot approach. To wit:

Of your four combinations, I think Sam and Abby feels most stale. They’re both great names, but they’ve been used – separately and together – so often that they sound more like book characters than actual live children. Maybe I’ve just seen too many Sam and Libby shoes, but the combo doesn’t sound zippy and exciting. Either of them with one of your other names would be great: Jed with Abby (wait, no, there’s a West Wing theme emerging here), Sam and Cara – is this a possibililty?

I like Jed and Rhea the most of all the combos. Does Jed have a more formal name? (President Barlet’s was Josiah, but I’m sure Jeremy or Joseph would work almost as well.) It’s an unfortunate thing that the “nickname names” are less worrisome for boys than for girls, but I still think he’d benefit from something more fully formed – don’t you? Rhea is great and underused, though you may have to correct some pronunciations in the beginning.

As for Charlie and Cara – this is a nice combination that goes together without being matchy, however (and this is really splitting hairs here), Charlie seems more fun while Cara is a little more serious (or “caring”, if you want to follow the sound-alike association). Charlie and Caroline might give this a little more weight, and you could still call her Cara when the mood strikes?

Finally, there’s Nevin and Everly. While these names are actually not badly matched in terms of being similar in tone and equally “new”, I can’t say they fill me with a sense of what these kids would be like – maybe that’s what you like about them? To me, I’ll be honest, they sound slightly “made up”, as though the parents were Kevin and Beverly, and this is an attempt to modernize the names.   I know Everly is being used more and more, but this is the problem with a “new” name – it sounds made up beside, say, Nathaniel, but it sounds insubstantial with a corresponding “new” name. There’s a reason the classics are classics.

The last thing I’d say is – why are you so spread all over the map? You haven’t said that one set is the “compromise” the two of you have come to while the other set is what you would actually call the children if you never had to tell your in-laws, etc. Is there such a thing as a name you love? Even one? The fact that these are so different tells me there’s not a real strong emotion coming off any of them.

Find the one name you love and go in with that as your guide. You can always start with Bradford and then meet his sister later, you know? Or maybe you’ve always loved Jessamyn?  It’s better to have one strong emotion you have to match than to deal in a whole world of pleasant but not overwhelmingly great.

Tags: Name Nerd
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