Life Advice



Misspelling Uncorrected After Two Decades

Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin on

DEAR MISS MANNERS: In 20 years, my husband's cousin's wife has never spelled our last name correctly. In her defense, the name looks like a typographical error, and she, being a lovely woman, thinks she has corrected it.

One assumes the proper time to have addressed this was 20 years ago. I am amused, and am willing to have her persevere in her error until the end of my life for fear that alerting her will cause embarrassment.

On the other hand, there are seven families in this branch whose name she is mistreating, and surely someone will voice an objection at some point. We could, in theory, legally change our name to her preferred spelling, but that seems drastic. What does Miss Manners recommend?

GENTLE READER: It would indeed be drastic, if impressive, that you would go to those lengths to save your husband's cousin's wife's feelings.

In lieu of such measures, Miss Manners suggests that you find an excuse to write out your name in full. Or select a small child in the family whom you can helpfully -- and publicly -- instruct to do it for you.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Two years ago, my son was invited to his cousin's wedding across the country. (This cousin is my ex-wife's niece.) He never received a thank-you card for the wedding gift or for attending.


My ex-wife contacted me recently, requesting that I advise our son to send a thank-you card to his cousin for inviting him to the wedding. Apparently my son brushed off the idea when she suggested it to him directly.

I've never heard of sending a thank-you note for a wedding invitation, unless you're not attending (e.g., Thank you for the invitation, but unfortunately I cannot attend). Your thoughts?

GENTLE READER: That a thank-you letter is indeed owed -- to your son, not from him.

While kind of the family to invite him, a thank-you letter for doing so -- especially two years after the fact -- seems only to serve the purpose of rubbing it in that the couple was doing your son a favor.


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