Anyway I met this woman, her name was ah, Amy, you know, so I go "Oh, A-M-Y?" She goes "No, A-Y-M-I-E". "Ughhh... I have to take a nap! [Audience laughs] Well, I'm Brian, B-R-I-V-O-L-B-N-the number seven and the letter Q! Brennemenahgah!!!"This trope describes an intentionally bizarre or unusual (mis)spelling of one's name. It's generally done to make oneself stand out from the crowd without going to more ridiculous extremes. This would not include commonly accepted alternative spellings such as Jeff/Geoff or Terry/Terri/Teri, nor to simple foreign-language transliterations; the new spelling should be an obvious change from a generally-accepted way to spell it (it can, though, apply to foreign-language names which are respelled phonetically, such as "Antwan" [Antoine] or "Dontay" [Dante], unless/until the alternate spelling becomes mainstream — the aforementioned "Jeff" was originally one of these). Further, it doesn't often apply to surnames, as few surnames have a single, accepted spelling, but there are rare occurrences. As a fictional trope, one would expect this to appear mostly in written works, for obvious reasons, but it can crop up in other media as well, especially if a Cloudcuckoolander gets to pick the name. It's also Truth in Television, as hundreds of babies are given "unique" spellings of traditional names each year. Sometimes characters who are Not Quite Human have exotic names that are oddly similar to Real Life names as a result of a Fantasy Counterpart Culture. It's worth noting that replacing random vowyls with the letter "y" is an extrymely commyn mythod of invokyng thys trope. As is taking a one-syllable worde ande adding the letter "e". Or d'ropping in the oc'casion'l apostr'phe, usu'lly (but not al'ways) in place of a v'wel. For added comedy value, this can lead to Psmith Psyndrome. See also Hollywood Spelling, but note that if the alternate spelling is considered bizarre in-show, Hollywood Spelling may be deliberately avoided. Compare Xtreme Kool Letterz, a good way to invoke this trope; and Translation: "Yes" in the case of unpronounceable names. Contrast Spell My Name with an "S", where the misspelling is unintentional. (If it's a variation on a foreign name, though, they can coexist.) Also contrast It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY", where a word with a normal spelling is given a bizarre pronunciation. Spelling of something other than a name by the writer is probably Phantasy Spelling. Not related to His Name Is....
open/close all folders
Animay and Mawnguh
- FLCL is always written as FLCL and always pronounced "fooly-cooly". Except the cases when it is pronounced "foory-koory" in the original anime and in Russian anime circles.
- Likewise, Xxx HO Li C is pronounced "Holic". The "Xxx" is supposed to represent a "fill in the blank" word (Alcoholic, Shopaholic, etc.).
- Nrvnqsr Chaos from Tsukihime. "Nrvnqsr" is a transliteration of the Hebrew for "Nero Caesar" (see Number of the Beast). So even though "Nrvn" could be read as "Neron", it's really really hard to think of "qsr" as silent. Particularly startling since the first time you see it, it is in its own page, "Nrvnqsr? |>". And no one explains how to pronounce it.
- Rena of Higurashi: When They Cry's name is "Reina". She took out the "i" because she thought it removed her bad memories. This has become a meme in the western fandom, because she just took out the "i" but it makes sense in Japanese.
- Dwun from Hunter × Hunter used to spell his name "Wdwune" until Ging changed it. Legally. In less than a minute. Over the phone.
- Digimon Xros Wars the sixth season of the franchise is actually pronounced "Cross Wars".
- In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Kyubey's name is written rather strangely in Japanese: half in katakana (including a gratuitous small U), half in hiragana. Naturally, this leads to a lot of Spell My Name with an "S".
- Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL is actually pronounced "zeal" in the original Japanese. The English dub pronounces the "X".
- The Dark Age of Supernames is notorious for doing this, with characters like Grimm, Stryfe and so on. Most of them created by Rob Liefeld.
- Often this is done for trademark purposes when the name sounds like a common English word. You can't trademark "Strife", but you can trademark "Stryfe".
- Jack Kirby engaged in this quite a bit, with Apokolips, Darkseid, Desaad, Izaya, Ikaris, Sersi, Thena, Virman Vundabar...
- Agent ! from Doom Patrol. Someone asks how to pronounce it, and is told, "It's easy, just '!'"
- Thompson and Thomson from Tintin, who usually identify themselves on the phone as "This is Thomson without a P" or "This is Thompson with a P". (In the original French, they were Dupont et Dupond.)
- Thompson usually used something along the lines of "This is Thompson with a P, as in Philadelphia/psychology/phone/something else with a silent P", while Thomson used "This is Thomson without a P, as in Venezuela".
- Static had to deal with a trio of truly invincible foes - Bryttyni, Tyffyni, and Krystyn, aka The Insufferable Y-Wymyn! (OK, so they were just "the popular girls" at his school, but they really were insufferable!) note Amusingly, in the same issue, Virgil also meets a young superhuman named "Funyl," but does not remark on that name.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles started by misspelling Michelangelo as "Michaelangelo". note Corrections on further adaptations have been inconsistent.
- Fan Fiction writers are infamous for doing this to their Mary Sues.
- An unusual non-Mary Sue example. The names of the various navy ships in The Life of the Legendaries are warped spellings of Pokémon names.
- Aircraft carrier - UNV Sazandra (Sazandora)
- Gun cruiser - UNV Shandara (Shandera)
- Destroyer - HNS Gardvior (Gardevoir)
- Battleship - HNS Craydaunt (Crawdaunt)
- Missile cruiser - SCNV Saedra (Seadra)
- Attack submarine - SCNV Draconite (Dragonite)
- There were a number of Power Rangers fanfics based around a group of characters known as the Crowmeowme Brothers. In case you're wondering, it's supposed to be pronounced "chromium", not "Crow-Me-Ow-Me".
- In the NCIS fanfic "Shards To a Whole", which centers around the growing relationship and marriage between Tim McGee and Abby Scuito, Coast Guard officer and (later on in the story) Gibbs' love interest Abby Borin is spelled "Abbi" to distinguish her from Abby McGee.
- In Bandslam, Vanessa Hudgens' character's name is "Sa5m", but "the 5 is silent".
- Couples Retreat: "Hello, my name is Sctanley... spelled with a C."
- The protagonist in Defendor (named, well, Defendor) goes berserk if you spell his name with "-er".
- High School High has a character named "Cady" and pronounced "Katie."
- And one named Anfernee who angrily corrects someone who calls him "Anthony". There's no way this is a coincidence.
- The epitome of this trope would have to be Jessica Lange's character from King Kong (1976). A large chunk of dialogue is spent to establish that "Dwan" altered the spelling of her name specifically "to make it memorable".
- At the beginning of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Harry says, "Now that I live in LA, I go to parties, you know the kind: where a girl whose name is Jill spells it G-Y-L-L-E, that bullshit."
- Tom Hanks in Larry Crowne once introduces himself over the phone as "Larry Crowne, with an 'e'."
- In L.A. Story, Steve Martin's character is charmed by a young woman who initially strikes him as down to earth. He's relieved to find her name is "Sandy", because, you know, he expected something weird. Turns out it's spelled "SAnDeE* " (yes, including the asterisk, and case sensitive).
- In Mean Girls the main character's name is spelled Cady, pronounced like Katie, but several people pronounce it Caddy. (Or rather, perhaps, like "catty," as this pun would make sense and might well have been intended.) At one point the principal, Mr. Duvall, comments that he has a nephew named Anfernee who gets mad when called Anthony. Almost as mad as Mr. Duvall gets when he thinks about the fact that his sister named him Anfernee.
- In The Other Guys we get to meet the evil ex Christinith.
- According to the Word of God, the in-universe name of the dog to whom Tommy Wiseau says "Ohai doggie" in The Room is actually "Dogeee" with three E's.
- That Thing You Do!: The band originally called them selves the Oneders — meant like "One-ders", but everyone read it as "O-nee-ders". When they got a manager, they changed their name to the Wonders: "As in, I wonder what happened to the O-nee-ders."
- In Warlock (1989), the female hero is named Kassandra. She says that it's "Kassandra with a K" and the male hero calls her that when speaking to her.
- In Anne of Green Gables, Anne hates it when someone spells her name, "Ann" and refers to herself as "Anne-spelled-with-an-e", which becomes both a taunt and an affectionate nickname.
- Every single name in David Weber's Safehold books, meant to represent the shift in pronunciation that would occur after 800-1000 years. Common changes are replacing "j" with a "zh" and use of vowel groups such as "ah" and "ay" instead of other vowels (except "i" which is replaced with "y"), such as antagonist Zhaspahr Clyntahn (Jasper Clinton). This is combines with a healthy dose of Xtreme Kool Letterz, such as Charlz instead of Charles.
- Inverted in Larry Niven's novel ARM, where protagonist Gil Hamilton speculates that "Ecks", the last name of one of the people he interviews while investigating a murder, may have back-formed from a 20th-Century ancestor who changed his name to "X" (as Malcolm X did).
- In The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan used this on occasion, with Elayne (Elaine) and Logain (Logan) being the most obvious normal names with single letters replaced or added. The most prominent concentration of such names is near the beginning of The Fires of Heaven, ranging from unconventional ("Maigan" for Megan) to plain odd ("Caralin" for Caroline and "Joni" for Johnny).
- Piers Anthony's Bio of a Space Tyrant has a character named "Shelia", whose name was misspelled on her birth certificate.
- Alfred Bester's (1953) The Demolished Man uses a sort of Text speak version of surnames: @kins (Atkins) 1/4maine (Quartermaine), etc. It was written that way as a text representation of Rebus Bubbles in a telepathic society.
- Thud! has Nobby going out with a girl named Tawneee. Three "e"s. Also, Tawneee has a friend called Broccolee (originally Candi, but changed it after she heard that broccoli is healthier). This might be an Invoked Trope, because they're both stri- exotic dancers. The same book features Mr. A. E. Pessimal, whose name is A. E. Just A. E. "You mean you weren't named, just initialled?" asks Vimes.
- Then there's Magrat Garlick, the original third member of the Lancre witches, who was supposed to be named "Margaret" but got sideswiped by an illiterate baptism. She attempted to avoid this fate for her daughter, but thanks to a too-literal reading of her instructions by the priest officiating at the ceremony, the poor child ended up with the name "Esmerelda Margaret Note Spelling of Lancre".
- The point of "Keli" (Princess Kelirehenna III of Sto Lat, better known as "kelly").
- In Wintersmith, we learn that Roland's last name is Chumsfanleigh. A footnote tells us that it's "Pronounced Chuffley" and that "it wasn't his fault".
- In Unseen Academicals, the necroma- sorry, "post-mortem communicator" Dr Hicks has taken to spelling his name "Hix", because no self respecting official token evil wizard should pass up a chance to have an x in his name.
- In the travelogue/nature documentary Last Chance To See, by Douglas Adams, one of the nature officials in New Zealand is referred to as "the eccentrically named, or rather spelled, Phred." Sort of a Truth in Television as the book was nonfiction and Phred was a real person Adams was writing about.
- The Face on the Milk Carton begins with protagonist Jane Johnson experimenting with signing her name "Jayyne Jonstone." Then the other names show up, provoking a case of Be Careful What You Wish For...
- Grantaire in Les Misérables sometimes signs with a capital R, which in French (grand R) sounds like "Grantaire."
- Margaret Weis did this with the leader of her mercenary team Mag Force 7, which was simultaneously both homage to and ripoff of The Magnificent Seven. Most of the directly-patterned characters died before the team got their own line of novels; by that time, the only two direct Expies left were pilot Harry Luck and cyborg team leader "Xris".
- Captain Midnite, the highwayman hero of Midnite: The Story Of A Wild Colonial Boy. His Deadpan Snarker Siamese sidekick claimed misspelled names were more badass.
- The young adult novel entitled My Name Is Su5san Smith The 5 Is Silent.
- William Gibson's Neuromancer features the antagonist Lady 3Jane Marie-France Tessier-Ashpool. It is not mentioned whether the "3" is silent.
- P. G. Wodehouse liked this trope, perhaps because his name is pronounced "wood-house", not "woad-house".
- In a rare surname example, Rupert (or Ronald) Psmith. The P is silent, "as in pshrimp", but he can tell if he's being called "Smith", and will correct people. In his first book, Psmith admits that he deliberately changed his name because "Smith" is too common.
- A short story features a baronet called Sir Jasper ffinch-ffarowmere, who could hear you say "Finch-Farrowmere". The "two small fs" thing actually occurs in Real Life.
- In Indiscretions Of Archie, Archie's last name, Moffam, is pronounced "Moom". To rhyme with Bloffingham.
- There's also Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge, whose middle name is pronounced "Fanshawe". It's a genuine, if unusual, English name. And yes, it is pronounced like that.
- The Jeeves and Wooster story "The Spot of Art" had Bertie trying to win the affections of a girl named Gwladys. With a "w". His Aunt Dahlia didn't approve of her for precisely that reason, rattling off a long list of other suspect names such as "Kathryn" and "Ysobel". Most impressively, she does this in conversation.
- On the other hand, "Gwladys" with a w may be the historical spelling.
- Used in Robert A. Heinlein's The Cat Who Walks Through Walls as a plot point; they heard the name pronounced 'Tolliver' but weren't sure whether it was Tolliver or Pronounced-Tolliver-But-Spelled-Taliaferro and had to figure out which because he had to die by midnight.
- The Ross O'Carroll-Kelly novels have many, many female characters whose parents have given them affected unique forenames; Ross even refers to them as "Jayne with a Y", "Keera with two E's", "Erika with a K"...
- In The Silence of the Lambs, the murderer insists he be addressed as "Jame". That's what's on the birth certificate, and no matter how much friends and family point out that "James" was the obvious intention, IT IS JAME.
- Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash has a character named "Da5id," apparently replacing the V with the number associated with its Roman numeral. It's likely a hacker handle.
- A confusing example: Isaac Asimov's short story "Spell My Name With An S" features a scientist, Marshall Zebatinsky, who decides on the advice of a numerologist to spell his last name "Sebatinsky". The story is the Trope Namer of the Spell My Name with an "S" trope, but it's an example of this trope.
- Asimov's "Unto The Fourth Generation" touches on this tangentially: a man goes through a day seeing variant spellings of the name Levkovich everywhere he goes; it turns out to be the spirit of a dead ancestor by that name, making an (ultimately successful) attempt to contact him.
- The Thrawn Trilogy from the Star Wars Expanded Universe gives us the evil clones Joruus C'baoth and Luuke Skywalker (cloned from Jedi Master Jorus C'baoth and Luke Skywalker, respectively). Although the spelling of these names is not called into question (because the characters never had to spell them), the "telltale mispronunciation" was mentioned as a sign that these were indeed clones. Since this is Timothy Zahn we're talking about, there's a pun involved too: It's not just a mispronunciation; since both clones characters have the letter U in their names, the clone is Another U. (One wonders what C'baoth would've named the clone of Mara Jade he intended to create. "Maura"? "Maara"?)
- At least it wasn't Entoo Nee or Ebanne Q3 Baobab, who got mistaken for droids all the time. Even though they didn't actually look a thing like droids.
- No other clones, not even the "Devist family" and Tierce from the Hand of Thrawn duology, written by the same author, distort their names like that. Maybe it's a Joruus thing, or maybe because these new ones were desperate to keep anyone from knowing that they were clones, and the Devists were all furiously working to avert Which Me? by being as individual as was practical.
- The same author uses this trope as a way to slip in very normal (at least pronounciation-wise), Earth-sounding names such as Jacen, Jorj, Billey, Rion, and Odonnl.
- Winnie-the-Pooh has this a lot. Owl and Eeyore believe that the former's name is spelled "Wol", Tigger spells his name "T - I - Double Guh - err".
- In "The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh", and every movie where Tigger has a house, the sign (New Adventures) and mailbox (Tigger Movie) has him spelled as "Tigr".
- A Song of Ice and Fire, as part of its medieval setting, likes to vary the spellings of familiar names: Joffrey (Jeffrey/Geoffrey), Kevan (Kevin), Lysa (Lisa), Jeyne (Jane), Margaery (Margery), Petyr (Peter)... and that's not including all the slight variations (Eddard/Edmure/Edric, etc) and different spellings of almost homophonous names (e.g. Alliser/Alester, Arryk & Erryk). Since the series also has No Pronunciation Guide and at least three different sets of "official" pronunciation (two different audiobook readers and the TV show), this can lead to a fair bit of confusion about whether the names should be pronounced like their real-world counterparts, or differently (e.g. Petyr Baelish as "Peter" vs. "Pet-tire").
- Also done in the medieval setting of the Deryni novels: King Brion (Brian) Haldane, Lord Seisyll (Cecil) Arilan.
- The Legends of Laconia character Cassiopoeia insists on the nickname "Cassi", without the "e". Hypocritical Humor because her brother Ferdinand is irritated when she calls him "Ferdy", which she does constantly; it's even become his Fan Nickname.
- Rebekkah from Graveminder.
- Used a great deal in Fiona Patton's Tales of the Branion Realm series: Ashlii, Jonathon, Duglas. Many female names end with variants of 'Lynn' — Saralynne, Terrilynne, Flairalynne.
- In the ColSec Trilogy, the protagonist's surname is "MaKiy," which can be interpreted as a phonetic spelling of the traditional pronunciation of "McKay." (He's a Brave Scot played straight, and the setting is After the End, after all.)
- Cayke the Cookie Cook, from the Oz books.
- David Sedaris writes in his book Me Talk Pretty One Day: "One evening we went to move an attractive young woman who found it charming to spell the name Kim with an h, a y, and two ms."
- J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series does this constantly, featuring main characters like Rhage, Zsadist, and Qhuinn. The female characters mostly seem to escape unscathed but there is an Ehlena.
- Polish writer Janusz Korczak (real name Henryk Goldszmit) wanted his pen name to be Janasz Korczak, as a reference to an obscure novel by Józef Ignacy Krasicki, but an editor thought it was a typo and changed to a Janusz, which is a popular Polish name.
- Kydd takes pains to point out that his name is spelled with a Y instead of a I. Word of God says the name of Princess Diana's mother, Frances Shand Kydd, rang a bell with him. 
- Robert Graves' World War I memoir, Goodbye To All That, describes his time as an officer of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, who, he notes, are rather protective of their archaic spelling of the word "Welsh", and resistant to attempts to correct it.
- In Sisters... No Way! Cindy's narration mentions that her mother wanted to spell her name 'Cyndi' but her very Irish father refused.
- In It All Started With Columbus, the hardships that John C. Frémont endured on his way to discovering California included "the failure of many persons to put the accent in his name, even though he reminded them repeatedly."
Lyv Akshon Teevee
- 19 Kids and Counting: Invoked Trope here - the titular family has 18 kids that are Family Theme Named to all have names starting with "J"; one of the daughters is called "Jinger", pronounced like the usual "Ginger".
- Some of the Grounders in The 100 have this, to emphasize how languages and naming conventions evolved in 97 years. Examples include Nyko (Nico) and Gustus (Augustus).
- Season 12 of The Amazing Race featured a team of two Goths by the names of Kynt and Vyxsin. Season 15 had the couple of Meghan & Cheyne (pronunced "Shane"). Season 16 had Caite (pronounced "Katie", not "Kate"). Season 21 had Jaymes...whose partner's name was James.
- A memorable A Bit of Fry and Laurie sketch involved a character named Derek giving a report to a policeman. When asked to give his full name, he says "Derek" and then drops a cigarette lighter on the table. When asked to spell the name, he says " N I P P L hyphen E." Further Hilarity Ensues as his address involves a tap dance and a slap to a cheek.
Candi: My name is Candi.Frasier: (noticing her necklace) Yes, I see. With an "I".Candi: Yeah, I used to spell it with a "Y", but I wanted to be taken seriously, so I spell it with an "I", like 'Gandhi'.Frasier: Yes... I believe that's why he changed it, too.
- Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report has been known to accuse Jon Stewart of this, adding an H to make it "John" because "that is how you are supposed to spell that." (It's short for "Jonathan" and so is perfectly valid.)
- Coincidentally, the "Stewart" in Jon Stewart's name was originally spelled "Stuart".
- Quendra (aka "Kendra with a 'Q-U'") on Community.
- Cops LAC gives us Jahrryde Trent, pronounced Jared.
Jack: Two Rs as well? How cute.Samantha: Said his mother wanted him to be different.Diane: Well, she's got an armed robber for a son. That's different.
- At least one article has mentioned how the professionals on Dancing with the Stars, especially the likes of Edyta, Ashly, Kym, Dmitry, and Maksim, seem to have a dislike of vowels.
- Doctor Who:
- In "Bad Wolf", the character Lynda clarifies that her name is spelled with a Y, not an I. Subsequently, the Doctor calls her "Lynda with a Y."
- Lynda keeps saying "Lynda-with-a-Y" because she's a Big Brother contestant and there was another one, already evicted, who was Linda-with-an-I.
- In the two-parter "Daleks in Manhattan"/"Evolution of the Daleks", a showgirl named Tallulah explains that her name is spelled "with three l's and an h". When she later asks the Doctor if he can save her fiance's life, the Doctor answers, "Oh, Tallulah with three L's and an H—just you watch me!"
- With the Doctor, this could actually be seen as a sign of his general attitude toward the joys of individuality and the importance of every single person he meets. The Doctor loves nothing more than people in their infinite variety.
- "In the Forest of the Night" has Maebh (as opposed to Maeve) Arden. The spelling of her name can only be seen in the episode briefly on the cover of her workbook, and in the credits.
- Then again, this might not count, because there's no "v" in Irish - her name is simply non-Anglicised, rather than spelled unusually.
- In "Bad Wolf", the character Lynda clarifies that her name is spelled with a Y, not an I. Subsequently, the Doctor calls her "Lynda with a Y."
- Eerie Indiana: The main character's sister also spelled her name "Syndi".
- In Family Matters, Lieutenant Murtaugh asks Rachel to call him Lou, spelled "L-i-e-u." He also reveals to Carl that he had his first name legally changed to "Lieutenant" when he became a lieutenant. When asked what his name was before that, he says, "Sergeant."
- In an episode of Flight of the Conchords, the main characters argue over the the name of their new love interest, one saying it's Barbara and the other "Brahbrah" (to which the first replies that no one is named "Brahbrah"). At the end of the episode, "Brahbrah" is indeed revealed to be her name.
- Game of Thrones:
- Many of the character's names are very similar to modern names, such as Eddard, Robb, Joffrey, Petyr, Jaime, Margaery, and Alliser.
- Knights are titled "ser" rather than the traditional English "sir."
- Somewhat parodied with Izaak Wolfe in Gap.
- In one episode of iCarly, Spencer does a audition as a drummer for a Rock band, one of the member is a girl named Susy, but she insisted it's pronounced "Soo-Say".
- Hollyoaks featured a character called Mitzeee. She made sure you knew it was spelled with 3Es.
- On How I Met Your Mother, a girl in a restaurant is annoyed when the waitress fails to realize ("Kristen?" "Kirsten?") that her name has "r"s on both sides of the "i": "Krirsten". Given that Ted is known to embellish and was told of this by Barney and Robin, this may or may not be an invention to illustrate how much of a b*tch the girl was.
- There's also Yobin.
- An In Living Color! sketch featured a man whose spelled out his name as (approximately) "Q, E, P, H, F, E, N, N, N, N ... N." He then revealed that it was pronounced "Kevin".
- In the Australian version of Kath and Kim, Kath and Kim are brainstorming names for Kim's baby. Kath suggests Tiffany - but spelled 'Typhphaannii'.
- Further to the examples in Live Action Movies, above, Walt Longmire of Longmire also named his daughter Cady ("Katie").
- Don Draper's self-proclaimed rival, Ted Chaough (pronounced "Shaw") starting in Season 4 of Mad Men.
Roger Sterling: Hey, writers, how many extra vowels is that?
- An episode of Major Crimes features a "professional conversationalist" named Shampagne.
- In the Sci-Fi Dom Com Meego, the lead gave his name as "P, L, X, a circle with four lines through it, and a triangle the size of my head." It's pronounced "Smith". One scene has him make out a cheque to the ice-cream man, signing his name, then putting "(triangle not drawn to scale)".
- One of the running jokes in Modern Family is how Mitchell and Cameron's gay friends all have ridiculous names. In one episode, they meet a friend's date who introduces himself as "Joe" but then pauses to add "J-E-A-U-X", to which Mitchell mutters "There it is!"
- Monty Python's Flying Circus
- Mr. Raymond Luxury-Yacht, which is pronounced "Throatwobbler-Mangrove."
- In the Bookshop Sketch, a man keeps asking for books with titles from Charles Dickens, but spelled differently and by different authors, such as David Coperfield and Knickerless Nickleby by Edmund Wells and Rarnaby Budge by Charles Dikkens. The exasperated bookseller tells him he has none of these books, nor "Carnaby Fudge by Daries Tikkens or Stickwick Stapers by Miles Pikkens with four Ms and a silent Q."
- In the opening spot of the German "Hamlet" episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Tom Servo announces he's decided to change the spelling of his name to Htom Sirveaux. Crow's response: "Well, Htom, why don't you hlick me?" After the commercial break, we see Crow deciding to change the spelling of his name to Cröe. What's funnier is that they're quite alright with the "Sirveaix" pronunciation, as it would still be "Servo". However, the "Htom" is what crosses the line, as Mike thought it was "Thom" and Tom's correction causes Crow to give an Aside Glance and tell him to "hlick me".
- Kari Byron from MythBusters pronounces her first name "Carrie".
- One of the main characters of Nashville is called Rayna Jaymes. Yes, with a Y.
- Nathan Barley features the individual "15 Peter 20" and "Jonatton Yeah?"
- Also, an artist named Djave, who pronounces it Dave ... and is a woman.
- On NCIS, Abby's stalker ex-boyfriend's name is Mikel Mowher. It's pronounced "Michael M-ow-ur".
- The Odd Couple: Oscar's secretary Myrna marries a man named Sheldn - there was a misspelling on his birth certificate.
- In the Red Dwarf episode "Timeslides", there is a model named "Mulholland-JuhJones". Presumably she insists on spelling "Jones" with two small J's, as "jjones".
- Reno 911!: Seeeeemji. The 'J' is silent.
- Sanford and Son: Fred Sanford. spells his name "S-A-N-F-O-R-D Period."
- Parodied on Saturday Night Live on occasion:
- In one sketch, Jamie Foxx played a kid on a talent show. His name was spelled Q-U-E-V-Y-N-N-N, and pronounced like "Kevin".
- In another sketch, Betty White played a woman whose name is pronounced as "Blarfengahr Blarfengahr" and written as "Lee Smith".
- Sex and the City has Big's coke-snorting model girlfriend, name pronounced "Shaw", but according to her "the Y is silent." It isn't explained how she actually does spell it (Shya? Shawy? Syhaw?).
- Audrey fforbes-Hamilton in To the Manor Born insists on the two small fs. In one episode she is puzzled as to how a journalist managed to get the fs into "Hamilton".
- Parodied in The Vicar of Dibley, where Geraldine struggles with the name of Peter Capaldi's fiancé Aoife (a very common Irish name, but the spelling isn't exactly intuitive to the English). When Capaldi's character notes her brother's name is Breifne, Geraldine asks if he spells it "Krtnqz". "That's the guy!" note
- Subverted in an episode of the Sitcom Wings, in which a visiting socialite has a romantic fling with "Brian With An 'I'."
- In the Wizards of Waverly Place episode 'Credit Check', there's a guy named Pa-ul. Alex lampshades this of course.
- The Young Ones Vyvyan, Vyvyan, Vyvyan!!!!
- RuPaul's Drag Race season 9 had James Writh add a Y to his name to make his drag name: Jaymes Mansfield.
- Toddlers & Tiaras: All over the place. Among many examples, Maddisyn-Rae, Alycesaundra, Kendyl, Jozy, Jersie, Shian, Mykel, Kaydence.
- One common "joke" (referenced in, and possibly stemming from The Simpsons) consists of asking a someone to spell AC/DC. Their answer will invariable be "Ay, see, dee, see," or, if they're particularly clever and wary "Ay, see, slash, dee, see." Both of these answers, are wrong, since it's spelled with a lightning bolt, not a slash.
- Inverted with
Louis LuigiLudwig van Beethoven, who signed his works in the language of his target audience.
Georg Friedrich HändelGeorge Frederik Handel. Actually pretty common among well-travelled artists pre modern era. (John Bach?)
- Owen from The Birthday Massacre used to spell it O-en because he wanted a nickname that wasn't 'Waffles'.
- Marillion's song "Kayleigh" was named after lead singer Fish (Derek Dick)'s ex-girlfriend Kay Lee. The song was such a hit (at least in the UK) that parents started naming their daughters Kayleigh in Real Life.
- Viktor Vaughn, a character adopted by Daniel Dumile (MF DOOM) on his album Vaudeville Villain. As he says in the song G.M.C, "Party people know the name: Vik with a 'K', if it's all the same."
- The lead singer "Nic." in the Swedish band "Nic And The Family" pronounces his name "Nick dot".
- A HUGE number of rappers and hip-hop artists use stage names with unusual spellings. There's actually a very good reason for this: such names are much easier to defend as trademarks.
- This is a trend in the hard rock/metal genre: Led Zeppelin, Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe, Lynyrd Skynyrd, etc. Although in Led Zeppelin's case this was to avoid people mistakenly pronouncing the word "Lead" like "Leed".
- Skynyrd named themselves after Leonard Skinner, their high school gym teacher. It was not intended as a compliment.
- Bob Geldof's "Attitude Chicken" features a girlfriend, name of...Ahknne?
Yes, my girlfriend's name is Anne, but she says the K is silentPut the H after the A or she gets really violent
- The avant-gard gospel ensemble The Danielson Famile.
- The first word in metal band Machinae Supremacy's name is apparently pronounced like "machine".
- Halestorm's lead singer is Elizabeth "Lzzy" Hale, while their guitarist is Arejay (pronounced "R.J.") Hale.
- There is a group called "!!!" (it's pronounced "chk chk chk").
- The band Sunn O))) pronounces their name "Sunn". If you're wondering, they're named after a brand of amplifiers, and the "O)))" part of their name is meant to look like a symbol used in said company's logo.
- In one of his radio shows, Professor Peter Schickele mentions a friend who spells his name Hen3ry. "The three is silent."
- The Christian rock band White Heart had a running gag in their album credits in which subsequent albums spelled lead singer Rick Florian's first name as Ric, Rikk, Riq, Ricke, Rhic, Rikcq, Ricque, etc.
- Gordon Gano of the Violent Femmes inverted this trope when he decided to phoneticize his surname (original spelling: Gayneau).
- Shane MacGowen is an odd example. In Ireland people mix and match their names all the time, depending on whether they're speaking English or Irish. The convention is generally to translate the name directly, thus Seán Mac Gabhann and John Smith would be understood to be the same person. However, Shane's parents instead decided to transliterate his name into an Anglicised spelling of the original Irish name. Though the result gives people familiar with English phonetics a hand with the pronunciation, to Irish people it looks about as weird as Kendra with a QU.
- J-Pop group AAA is pronounced as 'Triple A'.
- Roky Erickson's first name is still pronounced "Rocky". It's a nickname that sort of stems from his full name, Roger Kynard Erickson.
- Brazilian band J. Quest was supposed to be pronounced in English, "Jay Quest". Given the fear of a lawsuit by Hanna-Barbera for the Jonny Quest inspired name, they decided to rename themselves with what the people were already saying, Jota Quest ("Jota" being "jay" in Portuguese).
- Britney Spears' first name is actually a very uncommon spelling of the name Brittany.
- In Girlicious, we have: Nichole Cordova, Tiffanie Anderson, and Chrystina Sayers.
- Rocker Vicci Martinez, who had to remind the judges on Star Search how to spell her name.
- Bulletboys singer Mark Maytorena, who tweaked his name to become Marq Torien.
- When Monty Brown joined WWE, he was given the stage name Marquis Cor Von ("Marquis" pronounced "Marcus", not "Marquee" as one might expect). That lasted all of about a week; the next week, he was Marcus Cor Von.
- Outside of WWE, Terrence Gerin goes by Rhino. In the WWE, it's Rhyno.
- Bayley spells her name with a second y instead of 'Bailey'. According to the woman herself, the latter was the original spelling. But since she's from the Bay Area of San Jose, she opted to spell it that way.
- In Dino Attack RPG, Pterisa's name is an alternate spelling of the more common given name Teresa. In this case, it isn't just a funny spelling but also a Punny Name, since this spelling references Pterisa's pterosaur-based genetics. (Incidentally, "Pteroessa", meaning "winged", an epithet of the Greek goddess Nemesis, is pronounced like "Teresa" in Modern Greek, except that Greek pronounces the P.)
- Parodied by the late great George Carlin (Classic Gold): "Your name can be spelled S-M-I-T-H and you can pronounce it 'Jenovsky' if you want to, you know? What's your name? Jenovsky. How's that spelled? S-m-i-t-h. What?! They're all silent, nevermind..."
- Katt Williams wondered what the point of the silent letter is by using this as an example. "Hello, my name is Bob, that's B-k-o-b."
- Juston McKinney, himself an example of the trope, discusses all the problems this has caused in his life, such as people spelling it Justin, and how he can't say it's "Justin with an O" because people then think it's "Jostin".
That's like having a kid named Tim with an o. "So, it's Tom?" "No it's Tim, my parents were real ballbusters. This is my little brother Steven, it's with a ph, it's at the beginning. It's P-H-S-T-E-V-E-N-N, there's two N's at the end. The last one's capital, yeah they screwed that up too.
- Brian Regan provides the above page quote.
- Almost all of the suggested human names in fourth edition Dungeons & Dragons are differently spelled variations of regular names.
- Common in Warhammer 40,000. Dan Abnett is especially fond of this trope, with characters such as Alizebeth Bequin and Lijah Cuu.
- There's a minor character in Magic: The Gathering who at least has "My Nicknayme Is". She appears in the Kaladesh block, as seen here, and is codenamed "Shadowblayde". Yes, with the Y, which is somewhat lampshaded in the story.
- Galinda/Glinda in Wicked:
Glinda: the 'Guh' is silent.
- Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception gives us the Cariburn with a R, whereas King Arthur's first sword is Caliburn with a L. At least, one hopes that the l/r mess here is intentional. Given the Garm/Galm mixup of Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, it's possible they noticed the mistake and ran with it.
- CRAYNE CONSTRUCTION!
- U-1 from Gitaroo Man. In the Japanese, it is pronounced "Yuichi" (U-ichi, geddit?). The English version pronounces it "U-Wun", though. Like "Ewan", or "You won".
- Many minor NPCs in Guild Wars, such as henchmen Kihm, Little Thom, and Jamei, and also General Morgahn.
- Alyx Vance of Half-Life 2.
- A number of characters from Jak and Daxter, mostly because the setting is a Fantasy Counterpart Culture that resembles Earth. Jak and Daxter themselves are the obvious examples. Others are Erol, Rayn and Ximon.
- To spoof how the word "gnome" is spelled with a silegnt "g," all the gnomes in Kigngdom of Loathigng sprignkle their speech and gnames with silegnt "g"s before the "n"s. For example, "Hagnk" ignstead of "Hank", and greetigng you with "Greetigngs, advegnturer!" ignstead of "Greetings, adventurer!".
- Maggey Byrde from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All, for plot reasons. Her first trial as a murder suspect revolves around the victim writing her name wrong (using the more common spelling of "Maggie"). In the original Japanese version, her name is Mako Suzuki. In this case it revolves around the victim using the wrong rendition of the surname (Victim wrote: 鈴木, the more common rendition. The actual rendering: 須々木, which is non-standard).
- Aran Ryan from the Punch-Out!! series.
- Psymon Stark of the SSX series. There isn't exactly a story behind it, but as you migh have guessed, he's a bit of an oddball. The kind with serious mental health issues, that is.
- It's a remarkably common occurrence in Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume. While the protagonist's name, Wylfred, isn't common enough that spelling is an issue, it does pop up with other potential party members including Phiona, Rosea, and Heugoe. Seriously, Heugoe? And then there's Ailyth...
- Serah in Final Fantasy XIII.
- Occurs often in MMORPGs, when certain names are not allowed.
- While it isn't a common name, it's worth mentioning that Captain Qwark's name is not spelled like the word "Quark". Puzzlingly, Alister Azimuth gets his name misspelled quite frequently, too, despite having the standard spelling in both his first and last name.
- Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri has Conservator Lular H'minee, leader of the Manifold Caretakers, has an apostrophe. (This may actually be the only way to express her name in some sort of human language, as the Progenitors communicate via field modulation.)
- The second missile silo in Thwaite is manned by a woman, and her name is Staisy.
- Two of Nintendo's consoles are spelled (but not usually pronounced as) "double you eye eye" and "double you eye eye you", respectively.
- Tales of Vesperia features magical creatures named Entelexeia. Were you expecting that to be pronounced "en-tele-KAY-a"?
- While names like Ceilidh (kay-lee) and Ciaran (keer-un) are traditional Scottish names, Avalon's characters largely use the less common spellings of their names, although Phoebe prefers her name pronounced "feeb".
- Blond from the webcomic ''Blue and Blond'' is very particular about the fact that his name does not have an 'e' on the end, and will know if you spelled it that way in conversation.
- Grrl from Cat and Girl is this, in order to contrast with Girl.
- Played for Laughs in Drowtales, with Val'erie Val'Ley'gurl. Many other names exist somewhere on Earth but with non-standard spellings and Punctuation Shaker apostrophes.
- Xykon from The Order of the Stick will kill you if you misspell his name. "Zs are for pussies." (Somehow he's able to tell the difference when people are speaking.)
- Robot names in Schlock Mercenary: See here. "5er0" has the pronunciation "Vernon", treating 5 as V and 0 as "none".
- Jame from Terror Island. "It's like James, but there's only one of me."
- As we find out whenever someone from The Wotch's world hears it spoken for the first time, "Xaos" is actually pronounced like "Chaos".
- xkcd has a coder invoke this with malicious intent — presumably the SQL injection following the "Robert" isn't pronounced.
- The Noob parodies the high rate of this in MMORPGs (where multiple characters with the exact same name are not allowed). Ohforf visits an elven city where all the males are named variations of Legolas (Legolass, Leggolas, Legolaus) and all the females are Arwen (Arwyn, Arrwen, Arwhen). Ohforf also runs into this problem when first naming his character and tries Aragorn. When the game tells him it's taken, he then tries about ten misspellings of it while the computer makes fun of him for the attempt.
- Writer T Campbell is fond of this trope. Fans! has Rikk (instead of Rick) and Alisin (instead of Alison/Allison); Penny and Aggie has Cyndi (Cindy) and Lynda (Linda).
- Mayy Storm from Zelfia. Semi-justified, as it's a Line-of-Sight Name.
- Played for Laughs in "L's Empire". The Kayoss all have punny names (destruction based for boys and flower based for girls) but one of their key traits is that they are incapable of spelling correctly.
- Sluggy Freelance: Genarro plays the Years of Yarncraft video game as a mage called "Genaru". While the comic can't always decide how his name actually is spelled, that spelling doesn't appear anywhere else, and neither does the "u".
- In a parody of pre-rendered 90s adventure games such as Myst, J Nash recalls a magazine feature entitled 'Ryndyr' As the Dyngyyn Kyypyr of Ryndyr himself might say, “Gyyd lyck!”.
- Larry Bundy, Junior , British web and TV personality, uses the US abbreviation ("Jr.") instead of the British abbreviation ("Jnr").
- A cybernetics company in Darwin's Soldiers is named Weyland-Yutani. Word of God states that it is pronounced "Vey-land OO-tani".
- Brittnay Matthews, not Brittany or Brittney.
- Two stories on Not Always Right actually invert this. The person is actually trying to give a fairly normal spelling, and gets a completely new name back. In one, a guy says his name is "Stephen with a Ph" and gets called Pheven. In the other, a girl is Jessika with a K, and gets called Kessica.
- Relatedly, there's an image that circulates online occasionally of a Starbucks cup addressed to "Cark." The story goes that the customer specified that his name was "Marc with a C."
West Urn Animayshun
- Family Guy: The episode "Peter's Two Dads" sees Peter forced to wait in line at the airport as Robert Loggia taking his time spelling his name, using annoying superlatives about himself. (Purportedly to make sure the ticket clerk has it correct. When Peter complains, the clerk loses his place and Loggia starts again, further annoying Peter!)
- Codename: Kids Next Door:
Numbuh 5: I'm telling you — the word "chicken" does not have a 2 in it.
Numbuh 4: Well, it does now!
- In the cartoon short "Jack-Jack Attack" (based on an unseen incident in The Incredibles) Kari the babysitter says her name is like Carrie, but spelled with a K, one R and no E. And pronounced Car-E.
- In the Gary the Rat, Gary's regular cheese delivery man (named Bud), was sick one day and replaced with his cousin "Bud with an L". After a moment of silence, he mentions that the L is silent. Don't ask how you spell Bud with an L.
- In Planet Sheen, Doppy says his name is spelled, "D-O-P-P-tralalalalalalalalalala-Y." The tralalalalalas are silent, but felt.
- From Futurama:
Melllvar: Make it out to Melllvar. That's Melllvar with three L's.
George Takei: I think I've done enough conventions to know how to spell "Melllvar."
- On Daria, the title character comments on "Mystik Spiral," the name of her crush's band.
- In one episode of Brandy & Mr. Whiskers, Mr. Whiskers orders a fountain engraved with his name, spelled with four Q's. In a later scene, we see the fountain engraved with the text "Mr. Whisqqqqers".
- My Life as a Teenage Robot has a recurring minor character named Teresa spelt "Pteresa". Most of the cast actually believe her name is meant to be pronounced "Puh-Teresa".
- Oprah Winfrey. Her mother intended her name to be "Orpah", a biblical name, but it was misspelled when registering it - resulting in the "Oprah".
- Songwriter Jule Styne was born Jules Stein, but changed his name to avoid confusion with another Jules Stein, the founder of MCA.
- Three of Henry VIII's wives, who were all named Katherine. They all spelled their names differently— that is, even their own names, at different times. For some reason in modern-day literature, fiction and non-fiction, Katherine Howard's name will still be spelled differently from those of Catherine of Aragon and Catherine (or Kateryn) Parr.
- Some American states are infamous for this. Particularly notorious are Utah and Idaho, as (1) they have large populations of Mormons, and these unique names are something of a tradition in Mormon culture (nothing religious about it, it's just one of those LDS quirks, like Jell-O), and (2) even among the non-Mormons, people out there are pretty independent-minded (it's the Intermountain West, after all).
- The fictional character Ralph de Bricassart was the namesake for former NFL player D'brickashaw Ferguson.
- The former Mervyn's department store chain was founded by Mervin J. Morris, whose architect involved in building the first store suggested that the name be spelled with a Y to make it more visually appealing.
- Subverted by radio host Mark Gray, who makes a point of introducing himself on-air as "Mark with a K, Gray with an A."
- Many an unusual name. A good example is NBA star Dwyane Wade... Junior. Yes, a second-generation misspelling, and it's pronounced "Dwayne."
- Also from the NBA — Antawn Jamison. His birth certificate swapped the "a" and "w," so his name is pronounced "Antwan" instead of "Anton."
- From Achievement Hunter we have Kdin Jenzen. When asked about it, she usually jokes about how her parents couldn't afford vowels.
- Actress Nichelle Nichols. Upon first seeing her name written down, you could be forgiven for thinking it's a typo of "Michelle".
- Actor Issac Bright (this is his stage name). His real name is Assaf Ziv.
- Aleister Crowley adopted the unique spelling of his forename for numerological reasons, or possibly just to be memorable.
- A non-human example is American Pharoah, who in 2015 became the first horse to win the U.S. Triple Crown in nearly 40 years, and the first ever horse to win the Grand Slam (the Triple Crown plus the Breeders' Cup Classic). Two stories are circulating about his name—either a deliberate misspelling by the horse's owner (himself an Egyptian-born American) or an inadvertent one by the winner of a social media contest to name the horse.
- Google, the search engine we know and love, did this to the number "googol" for their name.
- Stories began circulating about a young girl named "Kharringtyn-McKhynleigh Khaybryn Sparks" after this image ◊ made the viral rounds. Turns out she (and her sister "Khayleigh-Huntyr") actually exist.
- From the 1970s onward, many Filipinos would add an "h" to their name/nickname, or name their children with a superfluous "h" in their name. For example, a man named Robert would call himself "Rhob" or "Bhob" or "Bhert," while a woman named Joanne would call herself "Jhoanne."
- Actor Eriq La Salle didn't change his name upon joining showbiz, just the spelling of his name — he was born Erik La Salle.
- Kim Kardashian's sisters Kourtney and Khloé are named so because their mother, Kris (short for Kristen), liked the names but wanted her daughters to have the "K" in their names like her. Kim herself and their half-sisters Kendall and Kylie Jenner got away with more common "K" names.
- Fox 13 aired a story about a Memphis school parents' activist group, and one of its spokeswomen was called, not Erica, but Airwrecka McBride.
- A couple of American economists (one white, one black) published a study on the consequences of giving one's child a distinctively black name (i.e., one far more likely to be given to African Americans than to whites). At the time of the study (2005), close to 30% of the black girls born in California were given a name that was unique among every baby born that year in the state. More details here.
- Invoked with John Scalzi's cat Ghlaghghee — he wanted a creative name for their new kitten, his then four year old daughter insisted on calling the kitten "Fluffy". Remember George Bernard Shaw's comment about English pronunciations being so nonsensical that "ghoti" could validly be pronounced "fish"? So did Scalzi.
- An even more bizarre example would be the British regiment known as "The Artists Rifles", they were originally called "The Artist's Rifles", but after various army clerks couldn't figure out where the apostrophe went, they eventually dropped it altogether (as if that was less confusing). The whole thing was resolved after World War II, when the regiment was redesignated the 21st Territorial Special Air Service Regiment.