Changing Your Name After Marriage

man and woman holding hands
Type: Vocabulary
Originally published on September 25, 2020 and last updated on February 4, 2023

In many western countries, particularly the UK ad the US, young women continue to take their husband’s surname when they get married. In the US around 70% and in the UK almost 90% of women take their husband’s surname.

Although taking the man’s surname is by no means compulsory, some find it surprising that women choose this option as historically it represented that the man now “owned” his wife.

Go through the vocabulary below with your students and ask them to try and use this vocabaulry where possible when discussing the different conversation questions.

Useful Vocabulary

Try and use the following vocabulary when answering the question. Click to look up the definition in the dictionary

  • marriage (noun)
  • couple (noun)
  • surname (noun)
  • marry (verb)
  • be in favour (idiom)
  • tradition (noun)

Conversation Questions

  • Should women stop taking their husband's surname when married?
  • Do women take the man’s surname in your country?
  • Do you think it is a tradition that shouldn’t continue?
  • Why do you think many women now choose to take the man’s surname?
  • Would you be in favour of a law preventing women from taking a man’s surname?
  • What potential problems can you see if women keep their original surname?
This conversation topic was prepared by Gregory

Gregory is a qualified TEFL teacher who has been teaching English as a Foreign Language (ESL) for over a decade. He has taught in-person classes in Spain and to English learners around the world online.