(Closed) Hyphen vs. space for two short names.

posted 4 years ago in Names
  • poll: Best way to handle the name?
    Hyphenate : (19 votes)
    50 %
    Use a space; don't hyphenate : (15 votes)
    39 %
    Drop poor grandma's name and take maiden name as middle name, search engine visibility be darned : (4 votes)
    11 %
    Something else (please tell me in comments!) : (0 votes)
  • Post # 3
    233 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    Commenting to follow. I just posted a similar thread and they mentioned over there that hypens are a bother due to the differences between Jones-Smith and Jones – Smith. I’ve also heard that the Social Security system can’t even do hyphens?!? But mostly I have no idea what I’m talking about so I thought I’d join you 🙂

    Post # 4
    609 posts
    Busy bee

    My name has hyphens since birth. My parents were not married yet. I’ve never had an issue with it legally. The SS office does hyphens. My whole name is my legal last name but I use my Dad’s last name primarily after they divorced. When I marry, I’ll be dropping my Mom’s name and hyphenating my Dad and my Husbands name.

    Post # 5
    2073 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: July 2012

    I moved my maiden name to a second middle name when I took my husband’s last name. I some have an established career and didn’t want to completely lose my identity in the field. I changed all of my professional credentials to my new last name but on resumes and such I put first maiden last name and just don’t include my original middle name. No one realizes my maiden name is my second middle name when I do this. 

    Social security and the DMV had no problems with this. I don’t know about hyphenation rules. Maybe call and ask?  

    Good luck with what you decide. If you do decide to take his name, it should come after your maiden name. 


    Post # 7
    2073 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: July 2012

    @pastrygirl:  I guess because that’s just the way I’ve always seen it done. My maiden name was there first so it should come first. If you think it sounds better to put his first then by all means, go for it. 

    Post # 8
    466 posts
    Helper bee

    Hyphenated names are fine. I don’t understand the hate and have never encountered it in real life, I think people just like to complain online.

    IMO having a space instead of a hyphen would likely cause many people to drop the name in the middle, because they’ll assume it’s your middle name, not part of your last name. If you want to encourage people to use both, hyphenate them.

    Personally I would just pick one format and use it everywhere, because people are almost certainly not going to remember which you want to use when. They will just stick with whatever name they saw/heard when they first met you.

    Post # 9
    1193 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: April 2013


    1. Are hyphenated names really THAT BAD? There is a lot of hate towards them on the Internet.

     I don’t think they are that bad, but I grew up with a mom who hypenated her name

    2. Would having a space instead of a hyphen make things better or worse? My fear is that it will be even more confusing and people will be even more irritated by it but stylistically I like it better.

     It depends I have all four names with a space but thats because I just wanted to keep them all I don’t want ppl to call me Mrs. Maiden-Married. I want them to call me Mrs. Married. I just didn’t want to drop either my middle or maiden name. I think if you want to go by both you should hyphenate.

    3. Is it worth it to try and have social/professional/legal separations of identities or to just pick one and use it everywhere? 

     I think it depends on how far along your career is.

    4. Is there strategy to picking whose name goes first? I like the sound of his first but part of me thinks it makes more sense to keep mine first and then put his after.

    It should be maiden-married.


    Post # 10
    1992 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: October 2011

    I made my maiden name my second middle name.

    Post # 12
    3002 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: May 2013

    So glad I saw this post–

    @YSQueen:  @MrsPaulsBabyBallerina:  Did you have to petition the court to change to 2 middle names?? I want to do the same thing (first middle maiden last) and I keep reading I have to petition the court and pay extra money to do this.

    Post # 13
    1549 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: November 1999

    As someone who has a apostrophe in my name, I would NEVER suggest you add a hyphen. I like my last name, but having a “non-letter” in my name, makes everything more difficult – places, such as my credit card companies, gym, previous employers computer systems, etc. leave it out and it becomes very difficult to look me up. Sometimes they add a space, a hyphen, completely leave it out. 

    Post # 14
    51 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: August 2012

    You can do whatever you want. I went with first, middle, married (as a second middle name), maiden. It sure as heck confused a lot of people, but I’m happy with it. I didn’t go with maiden then married simply because it sounded awful. Just be prepared for some explanation.

    Like you, I wanted to keep my maiden name for professional purposes. I still go by my maiden name socially, but people will call you whatever you want to be called as long as you square that away as soon as you get married.


    Post # 15
    1184 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: December 2012

    I did a double last name (no hyphen) and I like it.  Sometimes on forms it is put as one long last name, but it has really been no big deal. Sometimes I wish I had just kept my name as is and sometimes I wish I had just changed it to my husband’s, so I think double last name lets me have the best of both worlds. I go by my last name (maiden) at work, his last name socially, and both names for legal stuff. The only issue I’ve had is that my husband’s family asked if I changed my name (since they knew I wasn’t sure) and I told them what I changed it to. Now they always put my full name on everything even though I said socially I’d go by his last name only. I think because one of his aunt’s didn’t change her name and she is a stickler about not being called “Mrs. Husband’s Last Name.” 




    My recommendation is do whatever you want.  Don’t let anyone pressure you into one way or another.  Also, just tell people your name as you want them to address you even if it isn’t your “legal” name.


    Post # 16
    1329 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: July 2013

    I’m also known professionally by my last name. I even have a corporation named after me! I’m changing my last name to my husband’s but plan to use both names when needed, ala Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    The topic ‘Hyphen vs. space for two short names.’ is closed to new replies.

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