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Learning how to introduce yourself is an essential part of learning how to converse in English. Introductions are also an important part of making small talk at parties or other social events. Introductory phrases are different than the ones we use to greet friends, but they’re often used together as parts of the broader conversation, as you’ll see.
In this example, Peter and Jane are meeting for the first time at a social event. After greeting each other, they begin by asking simple personal questions. Working with a friend or classmate, take turns practicing this role-play.
Peter: My name is Peter. What’s your name?
Jane: My name is Jane. Nice to meet you.
Peter: It’s a pleasure. This is a great party!
Jane: Yes, it is. Where are you from?
Peter: I’m from Amsterdam.
Jane: Amsterdam? Are you German?
Peter: No, I’m not German. I’m Dutch.
Jane: Oh, you’re Dutch. Sorry about that.
Peter: That’s OK. Where are you from?
Jane: I’m from London, but I’m not British.
Peter: No, what are you?
Jane: Well, my parents were Spanish, so I’m Spanish, too.
Peter: That’s very interesting. Spain is a beautiful country.
Jane: Thank you. It is a wonderful place.
In the previous example, Peter and Jane are introducing themselves. Several important phrases that they use in this exchange are:
- My name is…
- Where are you from?
- I’m from… (city, state, or country)
- Are you… (Spanish, American, German, etc.)
Introducing Other People
Introductions in Formal Situations
Introductions can occur between more than two people, for example at a party or at a business meeting. When you meet someone for the first time, it is common to greet them by saying, “It’s a pleasure to meet you,” or “Pleased to meet you.” It is polite to respond by repeating the statement back at them, as Mary does in this example:
Ken: Peter, I’d like you to meet Mary.
Peter: It’s a pleasure to meet you.
Mary: It’s a pleasure to meet you too!
Ken: Mary works for…
Introductions in Informal Situations
In informal situations, especially in North America, introductions are also made simply saying, “This is (name).” It is also common to just say “Hi” or “Hello” as a response in this informal setting.
Ken: Peter, this is Mary.
Peter: Hi. How are you?
Mary: Hello! Pleased to meet you.
Ken: Mary works for…
Common Introductory Phrases
As you can see in the previous examples, there are a number of different phrases that are commonly used to introduce strangers:
- (name), I don’t think you’ve met (name).
- I don’t think you know (name)
- May I introduce you to (name)
- (name), do you know (name)?
- (name), I’d like you to meet (name)
Saying Hello and Goodbye
Many people begin and end conversations by saying hello and goodbye to each other. Doing so is considered good manners in many parts of the English-speaking world, and it’s also a simple way to express friendly interest in whoever you’re chatting with.
A simple greeting followed by asking about the other person is all that is needed to begin an introduction. In this brief scenario, two people have just met:
Jane: Hello, Peter. How are you?
Peter: Fine, thanks. How are you?
Jane: I’m fine, thank you.
Once you’re finished speaking with someone, it’s customary to say goodbye as you both part, as in this example:
Peter: Goodbye, Jane. See you tomorrow!
Jane: Bye bye, Peter. Have a nice evening.
Peter: Thanks, you too!
Key phrases to remember include:
- Hello… How are you?
- I’m fine, thank you
- See you… (tomorrow, this weekend, next week, etc.)
- Have a nice… (day, evening, week, etc.)
More Beginning Dialogues
Once you’re mastered introducing yourself, you can practice your English skills with more exercises, including telling time, shopping at a store, traveling at an airport, asking for directions, staying at a hotel, and eating at a restaurant. Work with a friend or classmate to practice these role-playing dialogues, just as you did for these exercises.
Learning English dialogue can be frustrating, doubly so if you tend to be more introverted. However, once basic skills are learned, introversion takes a back seat as you become more interested in talking with someone than focusing on yourself. DH