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Self-Introductions in English: “My Name is…” & Beyond!

So, you’re getting ready for a visit (or stay) in an English-speaking country and are eager to make friends. But in the back of your mind you’re thinking: “I have no idea how to introduce myself in English!”

Self-introductions are the cornerstone of beginning a new relationship. It’s during a self-introduction that you let the other person know all the basics: your name, your age, your occupation, what you enjoy doing in your spare time, and so on. Self-introductions can be difficult and nerve-racking enough in your own language (they are for me, anyway!), so doing them in another language might leave you feeling shy or diffident.

While I can’t help you feel less shy, I can help you feel more prepared for your first few introductions in English. In this article, I’ll be going over how to identify yourself, how to place yourself in society, and how to share personal details with those you want to form a deeper bond with, all in American English.

Table of Contents

  1. Body Language
  2. Identifying Yourself
  3. Placing Yourself in Society
  4. Sharing Personal Details
  5. Bonus: “Favorite” Questions!
  6. “Introduce Myself in English” Essay
  7. Conclusion: How EnglishClass101 Can Help You Master English!

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1. Body Language

Woman Confidently Introducing Herself

There is one thing I want to go over before verbal introductions: body language. Body language is something you can use to your benefit, regardless of your English-language skills.

It’s important to know what your posture, gestures, and facial expressions are telling others about you, and how to use your body language to your advantage. Below is a quick list of things you should do when introducing yourself

  • Smile when introducing yourself. Smiling indicates a positive mood and is likely to make you a more appealing conversation partner.
  • Stand (or sit) up straight. This indicates that you’re confident, comfortable, and ready to engage in a conversation. You can also use this to your benefit by appearing more confident than you really are—and sometimes appearing more confident can help you feel more confident, too!
  • Shake hands. A brief, friendly handshake is one of the most common ways to greet someone in the United States upon first meeting, and can be done with almost anyone you meet, regardless of gender or social status. This is a good way to begin an introduction, particularly in business environments.
  • Maintain eye contact (but not too much). In the United States, most people prefer to speak with someone who’s not “afraid” to look them in the eyes. It’s considered a sign of honesty, trustworthiness, and friendliness to maintain eye contact during a conversation. Maintaining eye contact indicates that you’re listening and interested in the discussion. But be careful not to come off as “creepy” by staring into their eyes for very long periods of time; allow yourself to casually look away from time to time, and be sure to blink. 😉

For a more comprehensive overview of body language in the United States, be sure to read my Body Gestures article!

2. Identifying Yourself

How do you introduce yourself in English? Or better yet, how do you introduce yourself briefly in English? The best way to initiate a conversation is with a cheery “Hi” or “Hey,” and a smile! If you need to do some brushing up on greetings, you can learn more about English greetings in our dedicated article.

1- Stating Your Name

Woman Holding Card with Question Mark in Front of Face

Once you’ve gotten the conversation started with an initial greeting, you can offer your name. There’s a variety of ways you can do this; below I’ve outlined the most common sentence structures with examples.

  • My name is ___ [your name].
    • My name is Jamie.
  • I’m ___ [your name].
    • I’m Ira.
  • My name is ___, or ___ for short.
    • My name is Lillian, or Lily for short.
  • You can call me __.
    • You can call me Bob.

If you want to ask someone else’s name, you can use one of the following sentences:

  • My name is ___. What’s yours?
    • My name is Valerie. What’s yours?
  • May I ask your name?
    • This a more formal way of asking someone’s name and is usually the best option, especially in business environments.
  • What can I call you?
    • This is less formal, but it’s acceptable in most social situations that don’t require a high level of professionalism.

During this stage, also be sure to say “Nice to meet you,” as this is seen as respectful and friendly. If the other person has already said this, you can say “It’s nice to meet you too,” or “Thank you. Likewise.

2- Age

Birthday Cake with Question Mark Candle

In the United States, it’s not very common to ask about someone’s age unless there’s a good reason to. That said, it’s not a taboo either. My recommendation for most social situations is to keep from asking about age unless the person seems to be about the same age as you.

Here are a couple of ways you can ask about someone’s age:

  • I’m ___ [number] years old. How about you?
    • I’m thirty years old. How about you?
  • May I ask how old you are?
  • May I ask your age?
  • How old are you?
    • Note that this is the most informal way of asking someone’s age, but it does sound more natural in speech than the others. This phrase is best used in laid-back, informal environments with people about your own age.

Now, here are the most common ways to answer the question:

  • I’m ___ [number] years old.
    • I’m thirty years old.
  • I’m ___ [age].
    • I’m twenty-five.
  • I turned ___ [age] last ___ [month].
    • I turned twenty last June.
  • I’m turning ___ [age] this ___ [month].
    • I’m turning forty-three this November.

You may find it beneficial to check out our vocabulary list on months as well as my English Numbers article. These resources will give you better footing as you talk about your age!

3- Nationality

Flags of Many Different Countries

In the United States, you may be asked about your nationality, or where you’re from. Here are a few simple ways to answer the question:

  • I’m from ___ English speaking country.
    • I’m from China.
  • I’m ___ [nationality].
    • I’m Norwegian.
  • I came here from ___ English speaking country.
    • I came here from Russia.
  • I’m visiting from ___ English speaking country.
    • I’m visiting from Japan.

For a list of possible nationality answers, check out our vocabulary list on EnglishClass101! Then, simply fill in the blanks with your nationality or home country.

3. Placing Yourself in Society

After you and the person you’re speaking with have established the basics, it’s only natural for the conversation to steer toward what you do. Three major factors of society (and your place in it) are: education, work, and family. Here, I’ll be going over each of these factors.

1- Education: Stating Your School & Major

College Students Taking Notes in Class

If you’re in school, you’ll likely be asked a lot about what school you’re going to and what you’re majoring in. Here are a few basic answers to these questions:

  • I’m a student at ___ [school/college/university].
    • I’m a student at Harvard.
  • I’m studying at ___ [school/college/university].
    • I’m studying at Arizona State University.
  • I’m studying ___ [major].
    • I’m studying Psychology.
  • My major is ___ [major].
    • My major is Food and Nutrition.
  • I haven’t chosen a major yet.

If you recently graduated or are no longer going to school, you can answer like this. Note the use of past-tense verbs in these answers.

  • I used to be a student at ___ [school/college/university].
    • I used to be a student at Harvard.
  • I went to school at ___ [school/college/university].
    • I went to school at Arizona State University.
  • I studied ___ [major].
    • I studied Psychology.
  • I majored in ___ [major].
    • I majored in Food and Nutrition.

Below is a list of popular majors (in no particular order), but you can also take a look at our list of common school subjects for more possibilities!

Creative Writing Psychology
Business Criminal Justice
Management Finance or Accounting
Humanities Design
Nursing Culinary Arts
Food and Nutrition Foreign Languages

2- Stating Profession

In the United States, one of the most common questions and conversation topics is work. When you first meet someone, they’re likely to ask what you do for a living. As you continue to interact with that person, many conversations will likely have to do with work.

Here are a few ways you can respond to someone after they ask about your profession:

  • I work at ___ [company or business name].
    • I work at NASA.
  • I’m working at ___ [company or business name].
    • I’m working at Apple.
  • I work as a ___ [occupation].
    • I work as an engineer.
  • I work as a ___ [occupation] at ___ [company or business name].
    • I work as an engineer at NASA.
  • I’m a ___ [occupation].
    • I’m a doctor.

Doctor Communicating with Nurse

  • I do ___ [occupation] for a living.
    • I do accounting for a living.
  • I’ve been a ___ [occupation] for ___ [number] years.
    • I’ve been a pilot for thirty years.
  • I’m self-employed.
    • Here, you can also use one of the above sentences to explain what you do while self-employed. You’ll see an example of this in the sample essay section.
  • I’m not currently employed.

To ask about their profession or job, you can use the following sentences:

  • What do you do for a living?
  • What’s your occupation?
  • I’m a ___ [occupation/job title]. What about you?
    • I’m a real estate agent. What about you?

To find your profession, check out our Jobs and Professions vocabulary list! And if you’re looking for a job, be sure to read my article on How to Find a Job in the United States for practical information for your job search.

3- Talking About Family

Family may be the most unique topic in this article, and one that’s both personal and societal. You may or may not be asked about your family during your first conversation with someone. But if you are, and you feel like opening up a little bit, below are a few sentences you can use to talk about your family.

Couple and Their Children Having Picnic at Park

  • I have a big/small family.
    • I have a big family.
  • I have an older/younger brother/sister.
    • I have a younger brother.
  • I have ___ [number] ___ [family member name].
    • I have one sister.
  • I have ___ [number] ___ [family member name] and ___ [number] ___ [family member name].
    • I have two uncles and one aunt.
  • My ___ [family member] is a ___ [occupation].
    • My grandma is a bookkeeper.
  • My ___ [family member] and I are/aren’t very close.
    • My mom and I aren’t very close.

If you’re not comfortable talking about your family, that’s completely fine and the other person will likely understand. You can let them know this as follows:

  • I don’t really like talking about my family. Can we talk about something else?

4. Sharing Personal Details

Usually, a conversation will begin to drift toward lighter, more personal matters after the basics are out of the way. This doesn’t always happen during your first conversation with someone, but the following topics are likely to come up sooner or later.

1- Pets

In the United States, people love (and treat) their pets like family. Don’t be surprised if the person you’re talking with brings up their pets, or wants to know about yours.

  • I have a ___ [pet name] named ___ [its name].
    • I have a bird named Chirpy.
  • I have ___ [number] ___ [pet name].
    • I have two fish.

Black Cat Curious about Goldfish

  • I have a ___ [pet name] and a ___ [different pet name]. Their names are ___ [name] and ___ [name].
    • I have a cat and a lizard. Their names are Lola and Slinky.
  • I have ___ [number] ___ [pet name] and ___ [number] ___ [pet name].
    • I have one cat and one lizard.
  • I used to have a ___ [pet name], but it passed/we gave it away.
    • I used to have a dog, but we gave it away.
  • I don’t have any pets.

For a comprehensive list of popular U.S. pets and other animals, check out our Animals vocabulary list.

2- Hobbies

Many friendships begin when two (or more) people realize they have similar interests. Talking about hobbies or favorite activities is one of the simplest ways to have a deeper conversation with someone. And you never know; you may find yourself a new gym buddy, writing critique group, or fellow foodie.

Here are a few ways to describe what hobbies you’re into and what you enjoy doing in your spare time:

  • I like/enjoy doing ___ [hobby/activity].
    • I enjoy doing free writing.
  • I like/enjoy ___ [hobby/activity].
    • I like drawing.
  • I (do) ___ [hobby/activity] in my free time.
    • I play video games in my free time.

Person Holding Video Game Controller

  • I (do) ___ [hobby/activity] and ___ [hobby/activity] in my free time.
    • I jog and watch TV in my free time.
  • I don’t have any hobbies.

5. Bonus: “Favorite” Questions!

So far, I’ve gone over basic questions and topics that usually come up during introductions. But you may find that people you meet are curious to know more about you and will start asking about your favorite of something (which of something you like the most).

The following questions are commonly asked when people are getting to know each other, and are usually a lot more interesting than talking about work or school. 😉

  • What’s your favorite color?
  • What’s your favorite animal?
  • What’s your favorite subject in school?
  • What’s your favorite movie/TV show?
  • What’s your favorite band/song?
  • What’s your favorite book?
  • What’s your favorite food?
  • What’s your favorite candy/dessert?

These are questions that you can ask your conversation partner as well to keep the conversation going and entertaining! This is also a great way to find similarities (and differences) between you and the person you’re meeting.

6. “Introduce Myself in English” Essay

Someone Writing in Notebook

Can you introduce yourself in English paragraphs using the information in this article? Tell us about yourself in the comments; we look forward to hearing from you!

Here, I’ll write an example “Introduce Myself in English” essay. To introduce myself in English, I might write the following:

Hi! My name is Tabitha, or Tabby for short. I’m turning twenty-one this June, and I’m from the United States. I used to be a student at Lumerit Scholar, and I majored in Creative Writing. I’m self-employed as a writer and editor. I have a big family. I have one sister and one brother. I used to have a cat, but she passed away. I do writing and walking in my free time. My favorite color is blue, my favorite book is The Thorn Birds, and my favorite candy is Reeses’ Peanut Butter Cups.

Note that as your English skills improve and you become more familiar with the language as a whole, your self-introductions will become more fluid and meaningful!

7. Conclusion: How EnglishClass101 Can Help You Master English!

How do you feel about introducing yourself in English now? Are there any more English self-introduction phrases or situations you want to know about? We love hearing from you, and look forward to learning more about you in your essay!

To continue learning English, visit us at EnglishClass101.com! We offer practical learning tools for every learner, ensuring that anyone can master the language. Read more insightful blog posts like this one, study our free English vocabulary lists, and listen to our podcasts on the go! You can also chat with fellow English learners on our community forums, or upgrade to Premium Plus to take advantage of our MyTeacher program and learn English one-on-one with your own teacher!

Know that with enough practice, you can become more than fluent in English—you can start speaking like a native! And EnglishClass101 will be here with study tools and support on every step of your way there.

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