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How to Make Introductions in French

5 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of French Words and Phrases for Traveling

Learning the proper way to make introductions in French can help you get off to the right start. The French language tends to be a bit more formal than American English. Consequently, introductions in French follow more of a pattern than they sometimes do in the United States. Don't worry, it’s not complicated — just good manners.

Introducing yourself

First impressions are important — they can start a friendship or set the tone for your interaction with someone.

  1. Start with a greeting.

    The simplest greeting is Bonjour, which means Hello or Good Morning.

  2. Introduce yourself.

    The two most common ways to introduce yourself are to say Je m’appelle Name (My name is Name) or Je suis Name (I'm Name).

  3. Since you are meeting the person for the first time, you should use the formal form of you.

    When you’re meeting someone for the first time, it’s always more polite to use the vous, which is more formal. Of course, you can use the tu form when speaking to children even if you’re meeting them for the first time. The following questions are posed in both the tu and vous forms.

    Comment t’appelles-tu? (What’s your name? [Informal])

    Comment vous appelez-vous? (What’s your name? [Formal])

  4. After they tell you their name you should respond.

    It’s customary to acknowledge the introduction by making an expression of pleasure. Common ways to express this are:

    Enchanté (Delighted).

    Enchanté de faire votre connaissance. (Delighted to make your acquaintance.)

    C’est un plaisir de vous rencontrer. (It’s a pleasure to meet you.)

    If they’ve beaten you to the punch and said one of these lines to you first, the appropriate response is De meme (Likewise).

Where are you from?

Don't stop at basic introductions. You could also talk about where each of you is from or introduce someone else. If you're from the United States, you can tell them where you're from, by saying Je suis des États-Unis. (I’m from the United States.) To ask where the person is from, you can say:

  • De quel pays es-tu? (What country are you from? [Informal])

  • De quel pays êtes-vous? (What country are you from? [Formal])

If you want to talk about where you live on the other hand, you can use the verbs habiter or vivre, both of which mean to live:

  • J'habite à Chicago. (I live in Chicago.)

  • Je vis à Chicago. (I live in Chicago.)

The second most common type of introduction is to introduce someone else, such as your spouse, child, or friend:

  • Je vous présente Fabienne, ma femme. (Let me introduce you my wife, Fabienne).

  • Voici Jean Paul, mon ami. (My friend, Jean Paul.)

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SERIES
The Essentials of French Words and Phrases for Traveling

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