Monday, December 03, 2007

A Rant on the Misuse of Hyphenated Names

When I got married, I happily added my wife's last name to my own, creating the hyphenated "Baker-Wright." Despite some minor resistance and confusion from some family and friends, I have never regretted this decision.

But I have to confess to continuing frustration at how people misuse this name. Some occasional slips into calling me "Mr. Wright" might be forgiven. After all, this was my name before getting married, and many people knew me by that name. But "Mr. Baker"? I have never been known by that name, and know of nowhere where it is customary to "drop off" the second part of a hyphenated name, or any other place in the English language where it is acceptable to ignore the word or clause that comes after a hyphen. The hyphen means the names are connected! That's why we use it! It represents my wife's and my connectedness as a married couple! You can't just drop off the portion that comes after the hyphen! So why do so many people do it?

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