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Lesson Transcript

Welcome to EnglishClass101.com’s British English in Three Minutes. The fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn English.
Hey everyone, I’m Gina!
This series will teach you some easy ways to ask and answer common questions in English. It’s really useful, and it only takes three minutes!
In this lesson, you’re going to learn some new ways to ask someone, “What’s your name?” including one that you can use when you’ve forgotten someone’s name.
Now, “What is your name?” was probably one of the first questions you learned when you started studying English. I have to tell you, though, that most native speakers of English would never say this! In English, just like in other languages, it is often more polite to be a little indirect.
Of course, the easiest way to avoid asking the question directly is to not ask at all! Just introduce yourself, and most people will respond by doing the same.
When introducing yourself, simple is nearly always best. Just say...
“Hi, I’m Gina!”
To show that you want to know the other person’s name, just add, “And you?” at the end.
“Hi, I’m Gina! And you?”
“Hi, I’m Gina! And you?”
Just like before, take out my name, Gina, and put your name in its place.
After you say this, the person will tell you his or her name.
Okay, now let’s talk about an embarrassing situation that happens to EVERYBODY- you’ve already met this person once before, but you’ve forgotten their name!
The most polite thing to do in this situation is to apologize and ask again. There’s a simple way to do this that’s also polite.
“I’m sorry. What was your name again?”
(slowly) “I’m sorry. What was your name again?”
This sentence is very similar to “What’s your name?” but it has three important differences.
First, we say, “I’m sorry.” A small apology can go a long way.
After that we say “What was your name?”
This is just like “What is your name?” but instead of “is”, we use the past tense “was”. This is really important, as it tells the other person that you remember meeting them. You haven’t forgotten HIM or HER, you’ve just forgotten the NAME. This little word makes all the difference!
“I’m sorry. What was your name...?
Finally, we add “again” to the end. This is another hint that tells the other person that you remember learning his or her name before, but you just can’t recall it right now.
“I’m sorry. What was your name again?”
This phrase is appropriate for both formal and informal situations.
Now it’s time for Gina’s Tips!
In the United Kingdom, it’s normal to address people by name in conversation more than once. In both formal and informal situations, it’s a way to show respect or interest in the other person, and can help you make friends.
It is also a great way to practice someone’s name so you don’t forget it!
If you are talking to someone named Ann, for example, instead of just: “What do you do for fun?”, you could say:
“Ann, what do you do for fun?”
You can also put the name at the end of the sentence:
“What do you do for fun, Ann?”
You don’t want to say the person’s name too often, or it will sound a little strange, but if you practice someone’s name like this, you won’t forget it. And people love to hear their own name!
In this lesson, we learned what to say when we forget someone’s name.
In the next lesson, you’ll learn what to say when you want to get in touch with someone, whether by telephone, email, or even newer ways to communicate. What’s your favorite?
Let us know in the comments, and join us next time for the next British English in 3 Minutes lesson! See you next time!