1) Do not use a nick name as a given name, unless it has already been transformed. For instance, Heidi is an acceptable given name, because although it is technically a nick name, it has taken on it's own personality and become a given name. But Charlie is short of Charles, and not a given name. Especially not for a girl. Name your little girl Charlotte if you want to call her Charlie, but please don't just go out and name her Charlie. It's cruel.
2) Nick names. I really don't like most of them. I accept that almost everyone else likes them, and they are inevitable. BUT if you're going to name your child something uncommon and unique(ish) or exotic sounding, like Elliana, do not give her a boring and common nick name (like Ellie). Ellie should be reserved for names more common and more boring that Elliana. If you intend to call her Ellie from the start or her life, then why bother with the fancy first name at all? Just name her Ellen.
3) Do not spell it wrong. This includes things like: Lilyan, Sharlotte, Aidyn. It doesn't make a common and popular name "more unique" to change the spelling. It's still the same name - now it's just common, popular, and spelled wrong. If you don't like the way a name looks when spelled correctly, perhaps you should make a different selection.
3b) To spell a name drastically wrong by adding letters, changing phonetic sounds, or removing letters is to make yourself look very uneducated. Charadee instead of Charity, Jasonh instead of Jason, or Zanee instead of Zane, for instance. Just don't do it. Everyone who meets your child will think his/her parents were idiots.
3c) Spelling a boy's name incorrectly does not make it suddenly a girl's name. The following names are still technically male names:
There are so many more. Just don't. I'm not opposed to using male names on baby girls, but if you're going to do it, don't dress it up fancy and pretend it's a different name. Unfortunately, because of the huge influx of girls given boy names, the choices for boy names are drastically dropping. Addison and Emerson shouldn't really be given to boys at this point anyways.
4) A name should not be phonetically nonsensical. Take the following examples:
a. Jaxson - this is not pronounced Jackson, but Jacks-son. It's got a double S sound, and it's redundant. Jaxon is spelled wrong, but at least it makes sense.
b. Cristion - there is a difference, in the English language, between a tian sound, and a tion sound. It's subtle, but it's there. Consider the words "transition" and "Haitian." See the difference?
c. Makaila - ai sounds like eye not ay. As in the names Caius, Kai, and Gaius. I realize this can be confusing because of some popular names like Hailey and Bailey, but it should be noted that Hailey is pronounced Hail-ee and not Hay-lee. Again, a subtle difference. If you're looking for an ay sound without just using a letter a, then you're looking for ae as in Mae and Rae.
d. Mykayla or Kyra - the "y" at the beginning of a name makes an eye sound, not an ih or ee sound. For proof, consider the names Tyler, Tyra, Myra, Ty, Tyson, Kyla, and Shyla. If you name your daughter Kyra, but meant Keer-uh, then don't get pissy when it's pronounced correctly - you spelled it wrong. For the record, there's nothing wrong with the name Kyra when you want it pronounced Ky-ruh.
5) Don't name your baby something hard to live up to. Examples of this would be:
Because every teacher knows a kid named Precious who was not even close to being a precious child.
6) Cliche middle names are lame. I know that a one-syllable middle name sounds great with almost every name, but it's been done over and over. It's common, it's popular, and it's down right boring. If it has meaning to you because of family or friends or yourself, then it's useable, but using the following middle names "just because you like the flow" is really boring. This generally applies to girls:
There are some cliche and boring polysyllabic middle names as well, such as
ReneeNicole (I'm guilty of this one, but it's because Andy loves the name Nicole, not because it "just sounds good." It wasn't a filler name for us)
Do your daughter a favor, and give her a middle name that required some thought and consideration. A name you love. A middle name doesn't have to be just a filler.
7) Some names should be left to certain occupations.
Phelix (though Felix is fine)
Please, just no.
8) Stick with your own culture. Don't get me wrong, I love the names Keiko, Brigitte, and Mercedes, but since I'm not Asian, French, or Latina, I'm not going to use them. Ancient names, like Greek, Roman, Latin - those are okay, because I don't think that people specifically from Greece or Rome use names like Ariadne, Ilythia, and Lucretia anymore.
9a) The letter Y does not belong in a boy's name, especially when it wasn't there originally. I can tolerate names like Cody and Tyler, though I'd never use them myself. But sticking a y where it doesn't belong is just asking for your son to be labeled a sissy. Examples:
Y is a girly letter - leave it to the girls.
9b) Nature names belong to girls. Period.
10) Some names are just unusable because of history or pop culture. These names should be avoided completely. Examples include, but are not limited to:
Mel (for boys)
Michelangelo, Donatello, Rafael, Leonardo
The list is really much much longer. If everyone and their brother will associate your baby's name with a serial killer, mass murderer, reindeer, very famous cartoon character, or really really bad celebrity, it's safe to assume you should avoid it for your own child, at least until that celebrity falls off the face of the planet, as most do eventually.
So there you have it - Kes' Top Ten rules on how NOT to name a baby. As previously stated, some people have even more rules, such as:
No surnames as first names
No masculine names given to girls
A slew of names are just considered "over the top"
No word names or occupational names (like Archer or Bridger)
None of these coincide with my personal preferences, though. =)