My Name is Spelled C-O-R-I-N-N-E, It's Not That Hard To Get It Right


The first thing we receive when we come into this world is a name. Our names stay with us forever and are a defining factor in who we are, yet names can get mixed up without a second thought.

Corrine, Korin, Connie, Korine, Coryn, Corrinne, Corn. None of these are the correct spellings of my name, but they are spellings that people think are correct. Not to mention the list of pronunciations that are also not correct: Karen, Connie, Coreen, Car-in. For clarification, my name is Corinne. It’s pronounced Cour-IN.

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my name for eighteen years and still continue to struggle with accepting the name I was given. Some days I wish my name were just something easy like Rachel, but other days, I wouldn’t want any other name.

I’ll explain why I’m frustrated with my name. Upon first meeting someone, you have to give your name, but for me, this is more challenging that one might suspect. First, I must slowly say my name, then correct the person who most likely just mispronounced it. Every time I meet someone, I have to explain my name to them and work through proper pronunciations until they can get it close to correct.

After a while, people with challenging names learn certain tactics. Here are five tips for people with hard names:

1. Learn your name alternatives. For me it’s Karen, Connie, or Coreen.

2. Once you’ve learned your name alternatives, make sure to respond to them, because it’s likely that when “Karen” is being called at a coffee shop, the barista really is calling for me, Corinne.

3. Pick your battles. Sometimes it’s not worth correcting people. Attendance is always a time to just let the mispronunciation fly. Because you’re smart and have memorized tactic number one, you’ll know to respond to one of your alternative names.

4. Create tricks to help people remember your name. This could be the same name as a famous person or a word that rhymes with your name.

5. If all else fails, find a nickname.

Jokes aside, living with a unique name is hard. Receiving emails with your name misspelled is highly frustrating. My name is in my email address and I signed it at the bottom, but still the person emailing me will continue to spell it Corrine. Or sometimes I just get Connie, which is not even close to my name.

This is disrespectful to the person with the unique name. It suggests that someone doesn’t care or they didn’t read the email closely to know who is contacting them. It’s also not professional to call someone by the wrong name. To maintain a good relationship with someone, it’s best to actually know that person’s name. In the past, I’ve had teachers call me by the wrong name throughout the entire year, which can be really painful. Not bothering to remember someone’s name suggests that they are not of importance in your life. Of course, this is plain frustrating, but it’s something I live with.

Other struggles include:

1. Sometimes people ask, “Are you sure?” after you correct them on the spelling or pronunciation of your name. By the way, yes, I’m sure that’s how to say my own name.

2. It’s hard to have any personalized keychains, stationary, or Christmas ornaments. When Coke started their “Share a Coke with…” campaign, I already knew I wouldn’t find a personalized bottle. I get it, no one wants to share a Coke with Corinne.

3. People ask why your parents gave you that name. To answer this, it’s because they liked that name, not because they wanted me to suffer.

In contrast, I do love my name. I love it because no one else I know has that name. I don’t have to worry about being another Sydney or Emma, because I’m the only Corinne. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have an easy name and meet people who have the same name as me. I’m the only Corinne I know. Sometimes I like to say my name over and over again in my head just to reassure myself that this is my name and it is all mine. I’ve grown to love having a unique name despite the frustrations.

Our name is who we are and when we have a difficult time with our name, we have a difficult time accepting ourselves. The frustration of misread emails and first day of class roll calls are much more distressing than some might think. Because names are so closely attached to our identity, mispronunciations and misspellings feel a bit like a personal jab. However, we have to learn to live with our names because they are a part of who we are. Our names are our identities and no one should be able to take that away.