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How to Make Introductions in Italian

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

Learning the proper way to make introductions in Italian can help you get off to the right start. The Italian language tends to be a bit more formal than American English. Consequently, introductions in Italian 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 Ciao or Buon giorno, which means Hello or Good Day.

  2. Introduce yourself.

    The two most common ways to introduce are to say Mi chiamo Name (My name is Name) or Sono Name (I'm Name).

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

    Use the formal Lei (singular you) when speaking to people you don't know well; in situations such as in stores, restaurants, hotels, or pharmacies); and with professors, older people, and your friends' parents. Save the informal tu (singular you) and voi (plural you) for friends, relatives, younger people, and people you know well.

    The formal Loro (plural you) is rarely used and is gradually being replaced by the informal voi when addressing a group of people:

    Come ti/si chiami? (What's your name? [Informal])

    Lei come si chiama? (What's your name? [Formal])

  4. After they tell you their name you should express pleasure. For example.

    Piacere! (Nice to meet you!)

    Piacere di conoscerla (Pleased to meet you.)

Asking "Where are you from?"

You don't need to stop at introductions; you could also take this opportunity to talk about where each of you is from. To tell them where you're from, say Sono degli Stati Uniti. (I'm from the United States.) To ask where the person is from, you can say:

  • Di dove sei? (Where are you from? [Informal])

  • Di dov'è Lei? (Where are you from? [Formal])

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

  • In quale città abita? (What city do you live in?)

  • Lei abita qui? (Do you live here?)

  • Dove vive? (Where do you live?)

  • Vivo a Los Angeles. (I live in Los Angeles.)

Introducing other people

The second most common type of introduction is to introduce someone else, such as your spouse, child, or friend. The following phrases are typical of introducing someone else.

  • Permette che mi presenti mia moglie? (May I introduce my wife?)

  • Permette che mi presenti mio fidanzato, Antonio? (May I introduce my fiancé, Antonio?)

  • Le/ti presento un amico mi, James. (This is my friend, James. [F/M])

Put the steps together and see how it comes together in a conversation.

Larry: Buongiorno. Mi chiamo Larry. Lei come si chiama? (Hello. My name is Larry. What's your name?)
Maria: Sono Maria. (I'm Maria.)
Larry: Piacere di conoscerla. (It's a pleasure to meet you.)
Maria: E lei. (And you.)
Larry: Lei abitaqui? (Do you live here?)
Maria: Sì. Di dov'è Lei? (Yes. Where are you from?)
Larry: Sono degli Stati Unit. Vivo a Los Angeles. (I'm from the United States. I live in Los Angeles.)
Maria: Permette che mi presenti mio fidanzato, Antonio? (May I introduce my fiancé, Antonio?)
Larry: Piacere! (Nice to meet you!)
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The Essentials of Italian Words and Phrases for Traveling

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