Nothing Sweeter Than The Sound of Your Own Name, Even When It’s Wrong

Please, no thank you, to the extra letter

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Photo by Danielle Rice on Unsplash

I contain multitudes but I’m singular. It’s O-R-L-E-A-N, no “S” at the end. You want to put it there, I know you do, but don’t. I will spell it out for you, carefully, as “o,r,l,e,a,n, that’s it, no ‘s’ at the end”, and you’ll still do it and I truly do not know why.

I’ve long assumed people put an “s” at the end of my name because they hear it and immediately think of New Orleans. But evidently, according to linguists, there’s a tendency to add an “s” at the end of a lot of last names. Guilty as charged. I have a friend whose last name is Griffith, and I’m always right there with the “Griffiths”. Aaargh. Look, it sounds like it should be the plural, doesn’t it?

Because it’s such a common occurrence, I barely flinch anymore when people put an “s” at the end of Orlean. Even people who know me well will slip on occasion. I just wince a little and then gently correct, or pull out a pen and strike out the extra letter. At least they got most of it right. Not everyone is as tolerant: I have an uncle who was so weary of correcting Orleans to Orlean that he gave up and legally changed his last name to Orleans.

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