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Is This Too Much T?

Our last name starts with a "T," so we had been staying away from first names that start with T as well. We feel that the alliteration sounds awkward. The trick is, we really love the name Tess and just can't get it out of our heads. Is loving the first name most important, as you use the first name on its own much more than you hear it with the last name?

–Mrs. T

When you start the process, it helps to have some baby-naming rules for yourself (like, "no surname names," or "no sharing names with a first cousin," or "no matching initials," just for example; every set of parents will have different preferences). Sans rules, it's very difficult to narrow down the huge universe of potential names to the ones that you like.

But by asking whether loving the first name is most important, you're trying to come up with a new rule to get you out of following your old rule against alliteration. When that happens, it may be time to rethink the old rule.

Although you're right that we say our children's first names on their own more frequently than with their surnames, the match-up still matters. You really do need to think about the first names you like in combination with your surname. And sometimes, you have to leave a name you love behind because it just won't work with your child's surname.

But—good news!—that's not the case here. As a general rule, you dislike alliteration. And yet the name you love just happens to be alliterative. So why not ditch the no-alliteration rule? It's basically arbitrary, a preference that could go either way. Some parents really love alliterative names! And in this case, the association seems positive. The name Tess pairs with a T surname in an energetic, almost storybook way, like comic book detective Dick Tracy's beloved, Tess Trueheart.

So if Tess is truly number one in your heart, don't let a little alliteration get in the way of giving the name to your girl.


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March 28, 2016 10:30 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Probably depends on the specific last name. Tess Trueheart is fantastic! Something like Tess Thompson or Tess Truman is fine. Something like Tess Tesla maybe not so much.

March 28, 2016 11:48 AM
By Sheri (not verified)

If it feels like too much (the examples mentioned above sound great to me), then maybe Tessa would lighten it a bit

Tessa Thompson instead of Tess Thompson? You could go with Tess as a nickname but have that extra vowel syllable in the formal name. I don't think it's required, just throwing it out as an idea :)

Good luck!

March 29, 2016 1:24 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think it depends on a lot on the number of syllables in your last name. Tess Tor doesn't really work for me, but Tess Trueman is fine. Also, it would probably work better if the last name is not "s" heavy and if the beginning "t" is the only "t" in the last name. Tess Tremonti might be too much "t", for instance.

March 29, 2016 11:33 PM
By Debbie S. (not verified)

I think the bigger rule should be no names that end in T, because that can lead to real confusion. Our last name starts with S, so any names that end in S were out. We do have one child whose name starts with S and it sounds fine. I think all of the suggestions listed above make sense, though.

March 30, 2016 5:57 AM
By Jo R. (not verified)

Agree with Debbie S. My last name starts with R, so names that end in R were out. Think Roper. Roger Roper slurs the first name into the last name. First letters are fine. Ruby Roper keeps each name distinct.

April 1, 2016 8:09 AM
By Meredith M (not verified)

I was born with, and married into, an alliterative name, and it's fine. Really. I have never felt it was awkward, and nobody has ever winced or even blinked when I introduced myself.

April 1, 2016 10:58 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Tessa Thompson is a well-known actress

May 30, 2016 6:56 AM
By Ceetine (not verified)

I loved A names but AA initials were definately out! TT initals are fine (no N middle name obv). Depends on surname but I have seen many double inital names that don't just work but stand out as awesome. Tess is such a beautiful name - good luck.

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