Salut ! Bonjour ! Comment vas-tu ?
Are you looking for ways to introduce yourself in French?
Knowing how to introduce yourself in French is a necessary skill; it can help us to make lasting friendships, get off on the right foot with new people, or meet a potential soulmate.
So if you’ve been wondering how to introduce yourself in French, take a look at this guide to learn ways to make a good first impression (and gain a few grammatical hints along the way).
How to introduce yourself in French the formal way: Step one, stating your name
To introduce yourself in French formally, that’s to people you don’t know, or in a work environment, simply say:
Bonjour je m’appelle [your name].
Now, je m’appelle literally translates to English as “I call myself”.
This is similar to the Spanish introductory phrase me llamo. But it is the standard way to tell someone your name and is used to say “my name is”.
You can then follow this up with the following sentence:
Je suis enchanté de vous rencontrer.
Note that the word enchanté here is the masculine single version of this adjective, whereas the word enchantée is the feminine single version of the adjective.
This means that if you’re a male introducing yourself to colleagues, you would use the adjective enchanté, and if you’re a female introducing yourself to colleagues, you would use the adjective enchantée.
What you should also note is that the formal version of making French introductions uses the pronoun vous.
This differs from the informal French introduction, as you will see in the following section.
One quick fact: enchanté or enchantée as an adjective means “delighted” or “pleased”.
How to introduce yourself in French the informal way
So now, let’s look at how to introduce yourself in French informally, which means to friends of friends, or family members related to your spouse who you’re meeting for the first time.
This requires a different register, but it’s less complex than the informal way to introduce yourself in French.
To do it, simply say:
Salut, je m’appelle [your name].
In this instance, did you notice that the introductory greeting word bonjour has been replaced with salut?
This is because salut is normally used when greeting friends and family.
Quick tip: salut sort of means “hi” in English.
You can continue by saying the following:
Enchanté de te rencontrer.
Now, in this sentence, note that you don’t use the vous pronoun.
This has been replaced with the pronoun te, which must be used if you’re speaking with friends of friends or new family members that you might be meeting for the first time.
If you use vous, your introduction will sound a bit off… as though you’re being prim and proper with close friends.
That’s okay, but you’ll probably want to stick with te if you’re speaking with friends of friends.
What if you’re not sure if the situation is formal or informal?
It’s not always clear whether the situation is formal or informal.
For this reason, it’s always good to have a backup.
Instead of je suis enchanté de vous rencontrer or enchanté de te rencontrer, is just the word enchanté (if your male), or enchantée if you’re female.
What are reflexive pronouns and how to use them when introducing yourself in French?
You might have noticed, when reading this article on how to introduce yourself in French, that in the sentence je m’appelle, there is a strange m followed by an apostrophe.
This m’ is a reflexive pronoun and means that the verb appelle is reflexive.
Reflexive verbs are used when introducing yourself in French or asking someone their name in French.
In many situations, they are the equivalent of using the word myself or yourself in the introductory sentence.
So, let’s go ahead and take a look at the many different reflexive pronouns in the French language:
|French Reflexive Pronoun||English Translation|
Reflexive verbs can alter the meaning of a sentence since they make the object of the sentence different.
So in one context, you might use the reflexive s’appeler verb to say “call myself” or you might use it to say “call one another”.
How to introduce yourself in French: Step two, asking someone’s name
As well as knowing how to introduce yourself in French, you’re going to need to know how to ask someone their name in French too.
The way to ask someone their name in French in a formal situation is to ask the interrogative:
Comment vous appelez-vous ?
This would literally translate to the English language as “what do you call yourself?”.
Also take note that the verb appeler must be conjugated with the verb form related to the person you are addressing, so in the following section, we’ve covered how to conjugate the verb appeler. Stick with us to find out!
Asking someone their name with the verb appeler
So, why and how do we need to conjugate the verb appeler to ask someone their name? Well, in one situation you might be asking just one person who you already know because they’re a friend of a friend.
In this case, you’d conjugate the verb appeler in the second person informal form: appelles _and use the reflexive pronoun _se.
In another situation, you might be asking someone to tell you what their friend’s name is.
In this case, you’d conjugate the verb appeler in the third person informal form: appelle.
Comment il s’appelle ?
You might want to ask for the names of several people in French, which will require the vous form of the verb appeler and the reflexive pronoun vous:
Comment vous appelez-vous ?
Or in the off chance that you’re forming a new band, you might want to ask your bandmates “what are our names?” which will require the nous form of the verb appeler and the reflexive pronoun nous:
Comment nous appelons-nous ?
Let’s look at the conjugation table below to confirm all of the conjugations of appeler, so you know how to ask anyone for their name.
|French Pronoun||French Conjugation Appeler|
|Il, Elle, On||Appelles|
How to ask someone their name in French informally
As mentioned above, there is a different register and word choice required for informal situations.
Here’s how to ask someone their name in French in informal situations:
Comment t’appelles-tu ?
So, here, we have a different sentence structure which uses the pronoun tu instead of the pronoun vous.
How to introduce yourself in French: Step three, talking about where you’re from
When introducing yourself in French, as the dialogue or chat starts to flow, someone might ask you where you’re from.
They might say:
D’où venez-vous ?
Or they might say:
D’où viens-tu ?
As you might have noticed, each of these mean the same thing.
It’s just the register that’s different here.
The first interrogative is the formal vous form, and the second interrogative is the informal tu form; the first interrogative is used in formal situations and the second is used in informal ones.
Part of knowing how to introduce yourself in French is knowing how to respond to this question, so here’s how to do it:
Je viens de [name of country]
Someone who wants to get to know you might also then ask you where you live, which in French would be:
Où habitez-vous ?
Or if they’re a friend of a friend, they will use the informal:
Où habites-tu ?
In response, just use the sentence j’habite à [name of city].
Introducing yourself in French: Step four, stating your age, hobbies and occupation
Now you’re hitting it off with a person, they might ask you how old you are, what your hobbies are and what your occupation is.
Let’s take a look at each of these in turn.
Talking about how old you are when introducing yourself in French
So, if someone wants to know how old you are, in French they might use the interrogative sentence:
Quel âge as-tu ?
Note that the French interrogative uses the verb avoir, meaning “to have” in English. This means the sentence would literally translate to English as “what age do you have?”
You can respond to this question by saying:
J’ai [number of years] ans
Talking about hobbies when introducing yourself in French
Say you’re preparing for a blind date with a French native speaker. One of the things you’ll want to be able to mention when you introduce yourself in French are your hobbies. They might ask you:
Que fais-tu pendant ton temps libre ?
And if you’re wondering how to introduce yourself in French and make the best impression with your special someone asks you a question like this, here’s how you might respond:
J’aime [state hobby or interest]
For instance, if you like to listen to music, you might say:
J’aime écouter de la musique.
Note that the sentence structure “I like to” in French normally features the verb aimer with a second verb in its infinitive form.
In our example above, the second verb is écouter meaning “to listen”.
Talking about your occupation when introducing yourself in French
One final, but critical thing that might come up when introducing yourself in French is your occupation; someone might ask you:
Quel est ton travail ?
Or, in formal contexts, they’ll ask:
Quel est votre travail ?
Both of these translate to English as “what is your job/occupation?”
If you’re asked about your occupation when introducing yourself in French, here’s the best way to answer.
Just as with the Spanish language, we don’t use the article a when describing our professions in French.
So whereas in English we would say “I am a teacher”, here’s the French equivalent:
Je suis médicin.
It works for any profession, just substitute the profession with your own.
General tips for getting better at self-introductions in French
As it’s sometimes challenging enough to introduce yourself without the grammatical rules here are six crucial tips to help you:
- Listen to introductory conversations in audios, podcasts or French films. Get a feel for the way French native speakers introduce themselves.
- If you’re starting with zero knowledge, sign up to a French course to get started. Introductory dialogues in these courses are useful starting points.
- If you know the basics but are struggling with verb conjugation, grab a stack of flashcards and write all six French pronouns on each one. Shuffle and select a flashcard from your stack. If you receive tu, try to conjugate the verb appeler in the tu form. Make this a habit every day until you get more confident. Repeat the flashcard game with a set of reflexive pronoun flashcards and you’ll be on your way.
- Some other challenges you might face as a French student is making literal translations between English and French. Now, this won’t work very well, particularly because English sentences don’t translate word for word when introducing yourself in French. Just to repeat an example, we don’t normally say “how old are you?” word for word in French. We don’t use the verb to be, either–we’d use the verb avoir in this case. Or, to use another example from this article, we don’t say “I am a writer” in French – it’s not a word for word translation. So, the tip is to avoid literal translations.
- It’s helpful to try and memorise some of these sentences to help you make the best impression. You’ll want to learn to think in French as well, even though this might be a bit challenging at first, so you could record your voice to practice introducing yourself in French. The more you record yourself, the more you’ll remember how to do this.
Make your first impression count in French
Introductions can make a difference to your relationships, but can be challenging in another language like French.
The best way to get better at introducing yourself is to do it often.
Connect with your local French community (ideally in a French-speaking country), or chat with French speakers online.
What are some other important phrases for self-introductions in French?