Spanish Phrases For Dummies
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Whether you’re speaking in Spanish, English, or Esperanto, introducing yourself formally means that you don’t talk in a chummy, informal way to a person with whom you have no relationship. Instead, especially when in Spanish-speaking countries, you use the formal way of introducing yourself to others in order to keep a certain distance.

In Spanish-speaking countries, people who don’t know each other use usted (oos-tehd) — the formal form of “you” — and its verbal form when addressing one another. For example, here are two common questions you might ask formally:

  • ¿Cómo se llama usted? (koh-moh seh yah-mah oos-tehd) (What is your name?)

  • ¿De dónde es usted? (deh dohn-deh ehs oos-tehd) (Where are you from?)

Notice the formality of the following conversation where Pedro García Fernández approaches a table at a sidewalk cafe with a person already sitting there and introduces himself in Spanish.


¿Me permite?
meh pehr-mee-teh
May I?


Sí, ¡adelante!
see, ah-deh-lahn-teh
Yes, [go] ahead!


Buenas tardes. Me llamo Pedro García Fernández.
bvooeh-nahs tahr-dehs meh yah-moh peh-droh gahr-seeah fehr-nahn-dehs
Good afternoon. My name is Pedro García Fernández.


Mucho gusto, señor García.
moo-choh goos-toh seh-nyohr gahr-seeah
Nice to meet you, Mr. García.


Y usted ¿cómo se llama?
ee oos-tehd koh-moh seh yah-mah
And what’s your name?


Me llamo Jane Wells.
meh yah-moh Jane Wells
My name is Jane Wells.


Mucho gusto.
moo-choh goos-toh
A pleasure.

Some situations call for a certain level of solemnity. An example is when you’re being introduced to a very important or famous person. Like in English, a few specific Spanish phrases signal this formality, as the following examples demonstrate:

  • ¿Me permite presentarle a . . .? (meh pehr-mee-teh preh-sehn-tahr-leh ah) (May I introduce. . .?)

  • Es un gusto conocerle. (ehs oon goos-toh koh-noh-sehr-leh) (It’s a pleasure to meet you.)

  • El gusto es mío. (ehl goos-toh ehs meeoh) (The pleasure is mine.)

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