When I spell my name, I usually say it's "Marie" with "ke" behind it. (My name is Marieke, I'm from Holland). Is this correct? I just think of it as the first letter of a word is in front so the following letters are "behind", however my husband disagrees. I could well be wrong as English is not my first language. Can you help?

  • If it works, and they spell it correctly after these instructions, then you are doing it correctly. There's no right or wrong way to tell someone how to spell your name, just effective or ineffective ways. Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 19:30
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is not about English language or usage. Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 19:31
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    It certainly is about English language and usage. In English one usually says after when referring to spelling letters out. Behind X is reserved for referring to X's that have a front and a back (behind the painting), or which are blocking one's view (behind the tree), or both or either (behind the house). This is at least two-dimensional, while letters in a row are one-dimensional and use a motion metaphor, so after is preferred. Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 19:35
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    after or at the end.
    – Wlerin
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 19:41

4 Answers 4


I'd prefer followed by rather than behind:

It's Marie followed by K E.

The suggestion by outrightmental of then is reasonable, but there's a chance that then might be misheard as enn (i.e. the letter N).


Behind is about visibility. In your case, use followed by ke or ke at the end would be better.


From a native Chicagoan living in Brooklyn, NY, I recommend addressing an English speaker with:

It starts with Marie, M - A - R - I - E then K- E.

Note how I used the word "then" in my delivery. So you can rely on the listener to know how to spell "Marie" as you mention in your question. Nice name, btw!


I would say, "My name is Marieke. It is spelled like Marie and then a K and E at the end."

I am assuming two things. That in your culture the name Marie is common and it is pretty much always spelled M A R I E (and it is pronounced the same). And that you give them your full name first so that they have context.

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