AEE 601: What Can I Call You? How to Ask the Question in a Natural Way in English

how to address someone in English

What should you call someone when you first meet them?

How can you find out what they want you to call them?

Find out as we answer a listener question today!

“Dear Michelle and Lindsay, I love this podcast very much and really help a lot. Here I have a question, is  “How may I address you? “a polite way to ask may I have your name but every time I ask it to a foreigner, they seem not to really understand, and they say “address me?” that is really awkward in this situation. Is that a wrong way to say ? I’m so confused. I hope you can help me to figure this out.”

 

Our Opinion:

  • Yes it’s very polite. It’s much too formal especially when you use how “may” I address you?
  • Here is a question to ask yourself: Where are you using this phrase? Using this in New York City at a fancy party at the Met would be different from using it in Nashville, Tennessee at a dive bar. You need to think about your surroundings and see what phrases will help you fit into the situation.
  • Another thing to consider: are you pronouncing it right? You might be putting the stress on the first part of the word which makes it sound like your home address (152 Darling Road).

 

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Other things that you can say:

  • What can I call you?
  • What name do you go by?
  • Do you go by (first name)?
  • Hey is it okay if I call you ______?
  • How do you like to be called?
  • Can I call you _____?

 

What questions do you have from today?

Let us know in the comments below.

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