On -A Endings to Vowel Beginnings / -A to -A Pairings / Assonance and Alliteration; and other trappings of bad name flow

I’ve been having the hardest time coming up with a single combo I love, and I’m trying to take a step back and analyze why.

Almost all my top choices for a girl’s first name end in -a or -ia. A large portion of the names I have pegged as “middle-name only” choices begin with vowel sounds. A large portion of the rest of the names I would consider as middle-name choices also end in -a or -ia (with some overlap in the venn diagram of
First-name-ending-in-A AEIOUYH-beginning-middle-also-ending-in-A. Most of the combos I like have some version of alliteration, assonance, rhyming (usually not at the end), or some mixture of all of them.

Where is the fine line between when these combos sound great and when they sound immature or unfinished or pretentious or just too clunky? I find that even the same exact types of sounds can come off entirely different. An -a ending followed by a long EE can sometimes work and sometimes sound awful.

[name_f]Do[/name_f] you think a name’s general recognizability plays a role? As in, when [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Eavan[/name_f] or [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Yvaine[/name_f] feel weird but [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Eve[/name_f], [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Evie[/name_f], or even [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_m]Even[/name_m], [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_u]Evan[/name_u], or [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Eve[/name_f]-lyn feel more doable?

With a 2 middle name combo, where does alliteration tend to work best?
As in, if the combos could be:

I’m going to try not to include too many actual combos here as I’m not particularly looking for feedback on specifics (though please tell me if you love something), but as examples to illustrate what I’m talking about… I’ve been trying to work with [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] and [name_f]Olympia[/name_f]:

[name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Violet[/name_f] Geneviève
[name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Viola[/name_f] Geneviève
[name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Antigone[/name_f] [name_f]Pearl[/name_f]
[name_f]Minerva[/name_f] Arsinoë [name_u]Jule[/name_u]
[name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Marigold[/name_f] [name_u]Jule[/name_u]
[name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Chamomile[/name_f] [name_u]Jule[/name_u]
[name_f]Olympia[/name_f] [name_f]Opal[/name_f] [name_f]Minerva[/name_f]
[name_f]Olympia[/name_f] [name_f]Rosmerta[/name_f] [name_f]Lenore[/name_f]
[name_f]Olympia[/name_f] [name_f]Aster[/name_f] [name_f]Celestine[/name_f]
[name_f]Olympia[/name_f] [name_f]Viola[/name_f] [name_u]Lumen[/name_u]

What is it about these combos that makes them work or not work? Please include your own flow combos for illustrating the effects of what you’re talking about when applicable.

Of course there is also the messy business of length and syllable stress, and all that. I feel like I more or less have a sense of what my style is for those elements. It’s these other pieces I feel I’m struggling with.

What is wrong with my combos that nothing feels right even when three amazing names I love are in combination and conversation with one another? Apart from some spark or lightning strike, what is it?

[name_m]Even[/name_m] if I somehow manage to play by all my own rules and avoid all of the trappings above with names I love, something is still wrong. I’ve been sitting with one combo on paper that I thought I would love more than I do.
[name_f]Minerva[/name_f] Líadan [name_u]Jule[/name_u]

What is wrong that nothing is right?

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I think popularity certainly plays a role. [name_m]Reading[/name_m] or hearing a combo with names that you recognize feels always more natural. It’s just easier to say the names because you know how to pronounce them.

Maybe it depends on which letter is repeated as well. For example, I find Vs and Os a little harder to say than Ms, so [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Marigold[/name_f] [name_f]Emma[/name_f] sounds wonderfull to me but [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Violet[/name_f] Geneviéve and [name_f]Olympia[/name_f] [name_f]Opal[/name_f] [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] less so.

Obviously, it matter how similar ending are as well. I don’t like [name_f]Fredericka[/name_f] [name_f]Angelica[/name_f], but I think [name_f]Fredericka[/name_f] [name_f]Bianca[/name_f] is fine.

Something else that might play a role is the length of the names. For example, [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Chamomile[/name_f] ([name_u]Jule[/name_u]) and [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Antigone[/name_f] ([name_f]Pearl[/name_f]) pair two longer names and I personally struggle a little with that.

Lasly, of course it’s all a matter of personal preferences as well. Someone might love a combo that will someone else thinks it doesn’t flow well.

This where some aspects that came to mind. Maybe this helps but sadly I can’t say what exactly makes the difference between a nice combo and a lesser.

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I personally feel combos should match with all names at least a little. For example, I can’t imagine [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Eve[/name_f] being a good combo, but I can imagine [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Isolde[/name_f] or [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Yvaine[/name_f] is.
I also think alliteration where names follow XXY pattern work better than alliteration where that pattern breaks like XYX.
Example [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Marigold[/name_f] [name_u]Jules[/name_u] flows better rather than [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Juliet[/name_f] [name_f]Mabel[/name_f]
I also think when it comes to three names combos, flow should be better with longer names next to longer names and shorter names next to them, like dam doom doom, or [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Marigold[/name_f] [name_u]Jules[/name_u] flows better than [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_u]Jules[/name_u] [name_f]Marigold[/name_f]

I also try to avoid -a -ia ending, but sometimes that might sound good. It still bothers me very much, because I tried to avoid this rhyme in the past so much it triggers me like crazy. Sometimes -ia-ia sound is very pretty, like [name_f]Sophia[/name_f] [name_u]Maria[/name_u], but it do bothers me in my own combos.
I think btter way would be to avoid rhyme, sometimes [name_f]Sophia[/name_f] [name_u]Maria[/name_u] works, but you’re not naming your daughter [name_f]Sophia[/name_f] [name_u]Maria[/name_u], so I guess something like [name_f]Olympia[/name_f] [name_f]Viola[/name_f] shouls work better than [name_f]Olympia[/name_f] [name_f]Julia[/name_f] [name_f]Violet[/name_f].
Also, I would very much avoid A ending and A starting combos, they simply do not work as much. So [name_f]Olympia[/name_f] [name_f]Antigone[/name_f] should be [name_f]Antigone[/name_f] [name_f]Olympia[/name_f]. As long as both names end and start in different letters it should not matter weather or not they are vowels.
[name_f]Hope[/name_f] I helped

For me, there are three ways to make a combo that I LOVE.

The first includes an honor name. For example, [name_m]Shepherd[/name_m] [name_m]Charles[/name_m] [name_u]Bravery[/name_u]. [name_m]Shepherd[/name_m] and [name_u]Bravery[/name_u] are names that I simply love, [name_m]Charles[/name_m] is after my grandfather. So even though I don’t utterly love [name_m]Charles[/name_m] in its own, I adore [name_m]Shepherd[/name_m] [name_m]Charles[/name_m] and wouldn’t have the combo any other way.

The next is a combo that just sounds good. [name_f]My[/name_f] best example for this is [name_f]Boheme[/name_f] [name_f]Evangeline[/name_f]. It’s one of those names that makes me want to sing it instead of speak it.

And finally, my favorite kind of name combo is the one where the meanings/sentiment mesh into something absolutely incredible. Like Eudoia [name_f]Rainbow[/name_f] or [name_u]Genesis[/name_u] [name_u]Pax[/name_u]. Eudoia is a Biblical name that means “beautiful journey,” and the rainbow was created by God in the Bible after He flooded the [name_f]Earth[/name_f], to symbolize that He would never again do that. So I love that [name_f]Euodia[/name_f] [name_f]Rainbow[/name_f] together is a statement of God’s love throughout your life, even during dark and dreary times.

I don’t know if that’s quite helpful.

I love your [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Antigone[/name_f] [name_f]Pearl[/name_f]. I think that is a really great example of names having similar sounds but still working together as a combo. It’s really all a matter of personal preference.

You’ll find that absolutely perfect name! I was messing around with my list this morning and came up with [name_f]Lucinda[/name_f] Faerydae. Neither name is one I’ve heavily considered before, besides Faerydae as a middle name for [name_u]Willow[/name_u], but I’m completely enchanted. Sometimes you just have to step back and have a little fun, and try not to put so much pressure on yourself.

This is hard as O and V are among my favorite to hear repeated!!

I definitely agree with you here. [name_f]My[/name_f] husband’s assessment of our 4-2-1-1 preferred name flow is that “4-2-1-1 sounds like a completed story; 4-1-2-1 sound like there is more to tell.”

I try to always include an honor in some way (how creative that is is up to how much I love or don’t love a certain name). I think that’s what so much of the double middle name appeal is (to include MORE).

I think a major problem for me here is trying to include a second middle name. I’ve struggled with this as I have two middles (technically a double-barrel). We started out many years ago saying one middle for all our children and then we shifted somewhere to one middle for boys, two middles for girls. But going through my combos yesterday with a fresh eye I was definitely noticing that in most of them, the second middle name choice detracts from the style and completedness of most of the combos. I think I’m going to go back to only searching for one middle name (even though it means I have wayyyy too many combos I love instead of right now when I have not a single double middle combo I love).

I agree about the second middle name thing. I originally wanted to give my boys two middle names but when I started playing around with second middles to go with the honor names nothing sounded right. Eventually it was just too much and I wasn’t loving anything enough it use it so they only have one middle.
I do really love a good double middle name combo when I can find it though :slight_smile:

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This is somewhat of a complex question/s that likely doesn’t have an outright answer.

I think part of the key is to not go overboard. I also find some repeating sounds very pleasing to my ears. Not necessarily alliterative names (although those are fine too), but for example something like [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Ines[/name_f]. Or [name_f]Olympia[/name_f] [name_f]Liane[/name_f]. Some subtly repeated sounds in the middle name, not always in the same order as the first name.

Maybe what isn’t clicking here, is that there is very little of the repeating letters and sounds that you seem drawn towards?

I, admittedly, am not good with second middles. I am certainly not against it at all. But I have over time gotten the feeling that you’re talking about, that sometimes they detract rather then add. Or maybe not detract, but rather distract from the magnificent rest of the combination. Going off that, I love:
[name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Genevieve[/name_f]
[name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Marigold[/name_f]
[name_f]Minerva[/name_f] Arsinoë
[name_f]Olympia[/name_f] [name_u]Lumen[/name_u]
[name_f]Olympia[/name_f] [name_f]Lenore[/name_f]
[name_f]Olympia[/name_f] [name_f]Rosmerta[/name_f]

[name_m]Just[/name_m] a smattering of thoughts! Good luck.

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I totally agree with this sentiment. Also [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] [name_f]Ines[/name_f] was one of my very first and all time favorite [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] combos, likely for this very reason. [name_f]My[/name_f] partner dislikes [name_f]Ines[/name_f], which still makes me sad years later. :broken_heart: Such a perfect combo!

I think that breaking up the sounds/alliteration helps to make combos flow better. For example, [name_f]Olympia[/name_f] [name_f]Viola[/name_f] [name_u]Lumen[/name_u] runs together a little with the double ‘a’ endings and ‘l’ sounds in [name_f]Viola[/name_f] and [name_u]Lumen[/name_u], whereas [name_f]Olympia[/name_f] [name_u]Lumen[/name_u] [name_f]Viola[/name_f] sounds great. I did this with one of my combos ([name_f]Flora[/name_f] [name_f]Maisie[/name_f] [name_f]Olivia[/name_f]) as [name_f]Flora[/name_f] and [name_f]Olivia[/name_f] ran into each other and the double ‘a’ endings didn’t sound the best. By switching [name_f]Olivia[/name_f] and [name_f]Maisie[/name_f] around, it sounds a lot better.

Also, what works with one combo might not work with another. Sometimes repeating sounds and letters actually sound good and work well, but there’s no reason why they should when another doesn’t. I think [name_f]Minerva[/name_f] Arsinoë [name_u]Jule[/name_u] sounds beautiful, despite the ‘a’ sounds that technically shouldn’t work together. It could also come down to personal preference, pronunciation and accents, which alter how they sound to certain people.

Overall, I think if you feel like trying to construct the ‘perfect’ combo is becoming tiresome then you should just go with the ones that you love the most. I think the flow of a combo is a good thing to focus on if you’re trying to decide between a few different names, but otherwise you should just go for what sounds good to you and not other people. I sometimes become fixated on making a combo look and sound the best it possibly can, but I know that if I was naming an actual child I’d ignore all of that. This might not be at all relevant to you but I hope that you figure things out and come up with some great names!