First Name-Middle Name Flow

We are having problems with the combinatin of first name-middle name for our baby girl.  We would like to honor her Great-Grandmother in the middle name but it sounds better in the first name place.  I really don't like to name a child and then call her by her middle name. BUT if we name her the other way it doesn't flow as well. What to do....Am I making sense? :)


What would you do?




November 9, 2015 2:16 PM

The thing about first-middle "flow" is that you so rarely say them together that it really doesn't matter. Unless there is something truly terrible with the names order (for example, Anna Sassin), i wouldn't worry about it too much. 

Two anecdotes: I have a friend whose legal name is B@rbara Leigh ____, and has always gone by Leigh. She HATED in school when the roll call said Barbara and everyone looked at her. I know a little boy whose name is J0seph J@ckson _____, but he goes by J@ckson because his dad's name is Joe. No problems there. can really go either way. I'm personally in the camp that wants everything to be as straightforward and easy as possible. 

Would you be willing to share the names so we can help you decide? Sometimes a slight modification can make a huge difference in flow (changing Anne to Annette, for example). 

November 9, 2015 2:57 PM

I agree with Caren--unless there's something really egregious, I would not sacrifice having the name you want in the first spot for flow.

I've told this story before, but I have an uncle who went by his middle name growing up, because he shared his first with his father. When he went to college, he switched over to using his first name, and it still causes occasional friction in the family forty-odd years later. Moral of the story: don't name your kid something you aren't prepared to hear them called.

November 9, 2015 3:31 PM

That's exactly how I feel. I have never understood the idea of caliing someone by their middle name. It's very confusinng. Now, that I am in that position, I don't really want to go against that.


The name we want to call her is Genevieve. (90% sure) 

The names we want to use to honor is either Reina or Esther.  I prefer Reina but Esther flows better.  

Thoughts? :)

November 9, 2015 3:46 PM

I think Genevieve Reina works fine. It doesn't trip me up or run together strangely. Generally speaking, first and middle are only going to be said together when she's graduating, getting married, or in trouuuble, anyway, and in all of those situations the name is likely to be said with pauses so that flow doesn't matter that much.

If you like the idea of using first and middle in an affectionate way pretty regularly, I think nicknames would work--I like the sound of Jenny-Rain or Vee-vee-Rain or Viva-Rain quite a lot.

ETA that I also love just Genevieve--one of my all-time favorite names.

November 9, 2015 5:19 PM

Yes, I love it too! I am not 100% sure yet because I am wondering if it is too close to Jennifer and people will want to call her her Genny.  Plus, I am just one that likes to meet the child before I really KNOW if the name we like IS her name.

November 10, 2015 12:02 AM

It is definitely not too close to Jennifer, but people will probably want to call her Genny if you don't give them another option. ("Oh, we actually prefer 'Gigi" <or whatever> for short".) 

I absolutely love the name Genevieve, so I'm all about helping you and hubby see that it works. (For the record, Genevieve Reina is lovely, as is Genevieve Esther.) Maybe a single syllable middle name would help? Reine or Rae would still be honor names, but might have the flow he's hoping for. Genevieve ReineGenevieve Rae?

To honor Esther, you could use Estee or Esme. Very French (especially with the fun French pronunciation of Genevieve), but quite lovely.

November 10, 2015 5:52 AM

I think it works better as Genevieve Reina or Genevieve Esther, particularly in the case of Reina. Since Reina means queen, I find the idea of "Queen Genevieve" to be a bit too much in that order!

I adore the name Genevieve. The one I knew didn't go by a nickname as far as I know, but there are so many wonderful nickname options apart from Genny. My favourite is Evie, but Vivi, Nieve and Viv are also great options. Congratulations on a lovely name!

November 10, 2015 1:01 PM

LOL!  Yes, exactly! I had this conversatin last night with my husband. I actually said to him, "Do you really want to name a child Queen?"  That will certainly not go over well. He is still not convinved. Oh well. We decided to table it, until she is born. 


Thanks for the nickname ideas. I am hoping that we can stear away from all nicknames and use the full name since it is so lovely.  Some things you can't help though.

November 9, 2015 4:42 PM

Flow is subjective.  In the case of honor names, meaning always trumps flow.  I agree with you about naming a kid with the intent of caling the by their middle.  Lots of people do it, but it seems like an unnecassary hassle to me.

Would it be possible to use a variant of great-grandmother's name instead?  We'd be happy to offer suggestions if you don't mind sharing the names.  But unless it's really horrible, (like initials spell something offensive) I'd probably just use ggrandmother's in the middle spot.

November 9, 2015 4:48 PM

Don't worry too much about flow. First name - last name flow is much more important. And though it is done by some people, I think naming a child one thing and calling them something else is just confusing. I say, go with the first name you like and the honor name as middle even if the flow isn't great. 

For the record I don't see any flow problems with the middle names you mentioned. I think it's possible that you're so caught up in the nitty-gritty decision making that you are over focusing on the details. It happens.

November 9, 2015 5:18 PM

Yes, I am caught up in the details. I am a name nerd! LOL   How can I not?


Hubby likes to point out that Reina Genevieve just flows off the tongue along with Esther Genevieve. I think he is the one that has the flow issues. LOL. I will have to have him read this thread.

All your thoughts are great. Thanks so much!  

November 9, 2015 8:27 PM

I spoke with my husband and he still wants to stick with Reina Genevieve because he likes how it sounds together.

November 10, 2015 1:26 PM

Is he maybe just liking the name Reina better than Genevieve? If so, that's a different kettle of fish.

On the other hand, if he doesn't plan on calling her either Reina or the full Reina Genevieve on a daily basis, then the (debatable, and at any rate marginal) superiority of "flow" really will not matter. Full names are only used in a handful of situations*, so she would almost always be just-Genevieve...unless her first name is actually Reina, and folks take to calling her that.

*Except note that there may be a spike in the number of times the full name is used (mainly by you) in the toddler years and again in the teen years ;-).

November 10, 2015 1:48 PM

Good point!  This is exactly the question I posed to him last night. The answer was he would use her full name.  When I pressed at how likely that would be he said to just wait till she is born for us to figure it out.  Which is fine by me.  Not too much longer to go! :)  

I also need him to read this full thread when he has a minute. That should help also.

November 11, 2015 11:17 PM

This thread has been hacked by her husband...

You all make a valid point, calling her "Queen" might be a little heavy-handed.  ;)

November 14, 2015 1:15 AM

Great name choice!  Is there a way to combine the names or do two middle names?


November 14, 2015 2:47 AM

I love Genevieve Reina. :) Just my uneducated $ .02. 

November 14, 2015 3:18 AM

I'm actually in the position of using my middle name, Genevieve, in most contexts right now. I don't use a nickname often, but when I do it's just Vieve. 

(I love my first name, too, but it's too identifiable and I needed to relocate with some anonymity a while ago.)

I agree with everyone that it would be more intuitive to put Genevieve in the first name slot. I don't hear any flow problems in Genevieve Reina, and am wondering if it's the more 'open' ending of Reina vs Genevieve (mouth is literally closed at the end of Genevieve) that is make that combination sound more awkward to you? Have you tried testing the names for flow together with your surname? I think when the middle name is said out loud it's almost always with the surname, anyway.