Should she tell them the baby's name is misspelt, or not?


With so many people these days seeking a unique name to set their child apart from the pack, it's little wonder we're seeing a few etiquette conundrums such as one a Mumsnetter posted recently. 

She's a little befuddled by the spelling of a name used by a colleague for her newborn daughter. The ancient Greek name Phoebe appears to have been misspelt 'Pheobe', and she isn't quite sure if she should bring it up or not.

She posted, "A colleague has recently announced the birth of 'Pheobe' on Facebook and have since referred to the baby as 'Pheobe' several times. 

Would I be awful to gently suggest the correct spelling or just hope it's picked up on when they register the birth?!"

The poster seems to have made the assumption that the parents don't know it's misspelt, but what if it's a deliberate alternative spelling? The post has attracted a raft of replies, with this commenter describing an identical situation.

"One of my friends announced the birth of Saphire on Facebook. I knew it was spelt wrong but I didn't want to be the one to point it out. It didn't however take long for someone else to correct her, and now at 5 months I see pictures of Sapphire on a daily basis."

These people would stay mum on the subject, and seeing as the person is a colleague rather than close friend, it's probably sound advice.

"I wouldn't ever say anything."

"I don't see what you would stand to gain from correcting them. So at risk of upsetting them. Wouldn't enter my head to say anything to the parents."


If the mother really has to know, another commenter advises, "I would send her a text, or ask her. I'd say 'congratulations on your baby, she's gorgeous. Before I write the card I just wanted to check how you're spelling her name. Is it Phoebe like the girl in Friends or Pheobe as I've seen you post on FB?"

It also seems little Pheobe isn't the only one.

"If you look through the National Statistics baby names spreadsheet you find Phoebe misspelled "Pheobe" every year. In 2017, 29 Pheobes were born vs 2000 Phoebes."

And perhaps this commenter knows one of those 29 Pheobes, saying, "I did this, turned out they intended that spelling!"

One poster's mum was named with the exact spelling the OP is talking about.

"My mum is called Pheobe and is 70 . She has had a lifetime of people telling her her name is spelt wrong!"

Just in case it is a mistake and they aren't aware, this advice is probably the way to go.

"I'd just say oh just checking are you spelling it the traditional way of Phoebe or have you gone for a different spelling..."

Whichever spelling they've actually gone with, there will always be people who need to ask how to spell it.