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Two women, both named Sarah, want to introduce themselves. What do they say? "Our name is Sarah"? This seems to make no sense. "Our names are Sarah"? This also can't be right. What is the correct way?

I believe the correct way would be, "Our names are Sarah and Sarah."

Any thoughts on this?

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    "Hi, I'm Sarah, and this is my friend Sarah." Or, "Hi, we're both named Sarah." – Hellion May 30 '14 at 3:34
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    "Hi, this is my brother Darrel and this is my other brother Darrel." – Hot Licks Sep 22 '15 at 12:57
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Personally, I think our name is Sarah is not unacceptable, though it sounds strange based on the infrequency of such an answer. The truth of the matter is that grammatically, they only have one name between them: It is a singular subject.

Consider:

  • Our horse's name is Grimm.
  • Our address is 615 Gramercy Park Drive.
  • Our son is fifteen.
  • Our cheesecake is the one covered in chocolate swirls.

In these examples, two people share the relationship with the subject, but the subject is singular.

I think if there were only 10 names to choose from, our name is would quickly become standard, as no one wants to say I'm named Sarah, and so is she several times a week for her entire life.

If the subject is plural, then it needs to follow its proper grammar rules:

  • We are both named Sarah.
  • Our horses' names are Grimm and Reaper. The Black one is Grimm, and the brown one is Reaper.
  • Our sons are 15 and 18.
  • Our addresses are different, as we have separated.

If there were only 20 names to choose from in the world, I'm sure the construction would be quite common and acceptable.

  • I disagree with your first statement. They don't have the same name. Names are by nature unique to the individual, so each individual must have one name. The fact that two names sound alike, or even are the same word, doesn't make them the same name. If it belongs to a different person it's a different name, regardless of the similarity between the two words. – Daniel May 30 '14 at 5:13
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    @Daniel So then you disagree with We have the same name, which is Sarah. given in the other answer? Since names cannot be the same? Persons are unique, names are not. – Wlerin May 30 '14 at 5:25
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    @Daniel - I think you're anthropomorphizing names. Names are neither people nor unique. People can have identical names without being identical. Your point, I believe, is a bit pedantic. George Smith Patton and George Smith Patton are identical names. They are not unique, though the people who have held these names are. – anongoodnurse May 30 '14 at 6:09
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  1. Both our names are Sarah.
  2. Our names are Sarah.
  3. Our respective names are Sarah.
  4. We share the same name, which is Sarah.
  5. We have the same name, which is Sarah.

The first phrase is just perfect.

  • Our father's name is yogeshwaran. Our family name is yogeshwaran. We are the children of yogeshwaran. – Blessed Geek May 30 '14 at 7:19
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There are two subjects there which bear the same name....it's just like "there are two guys here,there names are Kevin and Derek"....so for the question,it is incorrect to say 'Our name is Sarah because ultimately the "our" makes it a plural subject...so the correct sentence is "our names are Sarah and Sarah" or "both our names are sarah"

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There are some good answers but nobody points out which is the wrong way to do it or why. When it comes to language the "wrong" answers are those that convey meanings other than what was intended. So here are why your examples are incorrect:

Saying "our name is Sarah" is incorrect because it implies that there is a single collective to which the Sarahs belong that is named Sarah. This is implicated by using the singular verb "is". This is not the case and is therefore incorrect.

As some people have pointed out, however, if Sarah were their family name this would then be correct -- even though there are better ways to say it.

Saying "our names are Sarah" is a little closer to being correct but still misses the mark. The meaning behind this sentence is hard to determine and feels generally incomplete. This is due to the plural "names" being used but only having said the singular "Sarah". Some people may interpret this correctly, but there are some who will not; therefore it is incorrect.

With all this taken into account, I personally would say "our names are Sarah and Sarah" since these leave out any ambiguity or confusion.

  • Hello, Unicorn, welcome to ELU. Your analysis is sound, but your suggestion is unidiomatic, sounding comic. 'We are both named Sarah' is far more idiomatic. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 21 '16 at 23:06
  • Hello, Edwin. Your comment is insightful, but "comical" is preferrable to "comic" in this context." See "comic". (n.d.) Collins COBUILD English Usage. (1992, 2004, 2011, 2012). Retrieved September 22 2016 from thefreedictionary.com/comic. – Daniel Sep 23 '16 at 2:01
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Here are some other options. Although "Our name is" is more grammatical than "Our names are", it still will sound strange, and using other options such as the ones in the list below would probably make more sense.

  • Our names both are Sarah.
  • Both our names are Sarah.
  • We both are named Sarah.
  • I am Sarah, and so is he.
  • Our names are both Sarah.
  • We share the same name, which is Sarah.
  • We share the name Sarah.

Here's an example conversation using one of the alternatives.

Hello! It's nice to meet you. Both our names are Sarah. What is your name?

In a workplace setting, it would probably be better to use a more professional sentence.

Hello. I am Sarah, and so is he. I am here for the job interview.

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