Whether you are a beginner or have already mastered the pillars of the Italian language, there’s always room to move to the next level. This is true not only for advanced dialogues, but also simple conversations, such as the process of introducing yourself in Italian. It is during this meeting with a native speaker that you can show your real potential.
So what are some easy Italian introduction phrases worth learning? Let’s take a look at them now, along with some formal forms, in case you happen to need them at some point down the road.
Easy Ways to Introduce Yourself in Italian
The standard way to introduce yourself in Italian is quite simple. First of all, you start the conversation by saying “hello“. You can use common greetings such as ciao or salve for example. Afterwards, you can say your name. In addition, you can use the term piacere, which is similar to “my pleasure” in English. Here is a practical example:
Antonio: Ciao, (io) sono Antonio! Piacere di conoscerti.
Sara: Ciao, (io) sono Sara, piacere mio!
Antonio: Hi, I’m Antonio! Nice to meet you.
Sara: Hi, I’m Sara, nice to meet you too.
This basic form can have different variations, just as in English. For instance, instead of using the verb sono (I am), you can choose a different one such as chiamare (to call). In this case, there’s a small difference in the structure of the sentence, and this is because the verb is reflexive.
Let’s take into consideration this conversation:
Francesco: Buongiorno, (io) mi chiamo Francesco, piacere!
Roberta: Buongiorno, (io) sono Roberta, piacere mio!
Francesco: Hello, my name is Francesco, nice to meet you!
Roberta: Hello, my name is Roberta, nice to meet you too!
The first difference that might catch your eye here is the change in how we say hello. Francesco starts with buongiorno (good morning / good day / formal hello), a greeting that could easily be substituted by buona sera (good evening) or salve (another way to say “hello“).
Note: Salve is more polite than ciao, so you can expect to hear it used between colleagues or strangers. That said, many adults use it in informal contexts too: it all depends on tone of voice.
Afterwards, Francesco uses mi chiamo… which you can translate as my name is… or I’m called… in English. But you can also opt for il mio nome è (quite literally “my name is”). Both these variations are used to introduce yourself in Italian, without affecting the meaning at all.
Note: Mi chiamo literally means “I call myself“.
Formal Ways to Introduce Yourself in Italian
Now let’s go deeper and find out how to introduce yourself in a formal Italian environment.
To better understand the differences, it can be useful to refer to the previous example and transform it into its formal equivalent:
Francesco: Buongiorno, (io) mi chiamo Francesco, piacere di conoscerLa!
Roberta: Buongiorno Francesco, (io) sono Roberta, piacere!
Francesco: Hello, my name is Francesco, it’s nice to meet you!
Roberta: Hello Francesco, my name is Roberta, nice to meet you!
In formal contexts, a good rule of thumb is to greet people with buongiorno or buona sera rather than with ciao. As mentioned above, salve is something of a joker card in that it can be used in both informal and formal introductions. The choice is yours.
After the greeting, at the end of the first sentence, Francesco uses the expression piacere di conoscerLa. By examining this linguistic segment, you can see that the term piacere is used as in the informal example. But here, it is followed by a preposition and the verb conoscere (to get to know). This verb ends with the personal pronoun la, and it refers to the other person in a formal way.
- Conoscer -La
That ending, in Italian, means Lei, which is a personal pronoun used in courtesy forms. It is widely used when talking to authorities, elderly people, or in any other formal situations, such as a job interview. You should know that Italians are bound to old-fashioned manners. Indeed, the elderly especially may feel offended if people do not address them as expected (though they are bound to be more lenient towards learners of the language). So being aware of this personal pronoun will definitely put you a step ahead.
In a formal context, you can also use other expressions such as:
- Molto lieto (very pleased)
- Piacere di incontrarLa (nice to meet you)
- È un piacere (It’s a pleasure)
- Piacere tutto mio (The pleasure’s all mine)
In Roberta’s answer, you can see how she uses the word buongiorno followed by the name of the other interlocutor. In this way, she shows respect, putting the other person before herself. In doing so, she can better remember the new name by repeating it, thus killing two birds with one stone. Only then does Roberta go on to introduce herself.
Before we conclude this article, something interesting to note is the perception about the use of these formulas in etiquette, in Italy known as the Galateo. Indeed, if you religiously follow the “also known as” bon ton, you shouldn’t really use piacere at all when you first meet someone.
And the reason is simple: how could it be a pleasure to meet someone if you do not even know them yet? The pleasure, should there be any, would come later, and so, using it can be seen as the worst demonstration of insincerity from the very start. Had you ever thought about that before?
But no worries, in most cases, nobody cares in Italy, and these expressions are used and appreciated by the majority of Italians. So use them as much as you like, just as you would in English!
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How to introduce someone in Italian
In most cases, when you introduce someone in Italian to another person that you already know, Italians are quite direct. There’s not much room for imagination. And to better understand how they do this, here is a practical example:
Antonio: Ciao Francesco, come stai?
Francesco: Ciao Antonio, tutto bene, grazie.
Antonio: Lei è Anna, la mia compagna.
Francesco: Ciao Anna, piacere di conoscerti.
Anna: Ciao, piacere mio.
Antonio: Hi Francesco, how are you?
Francesco: Hi Antonio, I’m fine, thanks.
Antonio: This is Anna, my girlfriend.
Francesco: Hi Anna, nice to meet you.
Anna: Hi, nice to meet you too.
As you can see, the dialogue is brief. Note that in Italian, they use the form Lui / Lei è… (which means He / She is…) instead of This is… when presenting another person. You will never hear an Italian say Questo / Questa è… followed by the person’s name. After this quick introduction, they can already start to talk about whatever they have on their minds.
However things are a bit different when you want to introduce someone in Italian in a formal context. In this case, the conversation will follow the same structure as the formal conversation we saw before, but with some small practical changes. Let’s say that Rosa, a nurse, wants to introduce her husband to Elisa, a doctor in the same medical department:
Rosa: Buona sera dottoressa Elisa.
Elisa: Buona sera Rosa.
Rosa: Le voglio presentare Francesco, mio marito.
Elisa: È un piacere conoscerLa Francesco.
Francesco: Il piacere è tutto mio.
Rosa: Good evening Dr. Elisa, I’d like to introduce you to Francesco, my husband.
Elisa: Good evening, Rosa, it’s a pleasure to meet you, Francesco.
Francesco: The pleasure’s all mine.
Right away, we can see that Rosa uses the more formal greeting buona sera, as does Elisa in her response. Although Rosa knows Elisa, she addresses her colleague by first mentioning her title as a doctor, as a sign of respect for her position. Moreover, she goes on to use the polite personal pronoun Le which stands for Lei.
Differently to what happens in an informal scenario, she uses the form Le voglio presentare… which means I’d like to introduce…to you. And in her answer, Elisa keeps the formal tone using the form È un piacere conoscerLa Francesco (It’s a pleasure to meet you, Francesco).
Now that you know how to introduce, not only yourself, but also other people in Italian, are you ready to give these phrases a try out in the wild? We certainly hope so!
About the author: Fabio Guarino
As a Linguist and Language Specialist, working as a Freelance Content Writer and SEO Marketer allows me to combine my passions and interests with my career. My favourite thing about working with languages is playing with words. And this is something I’ve always dreamed about since I started to wander the globe and study languages.
Fabio Guarino is a Linguist and Language Specialist who operates as a Freelance Content Writer and SEO Marketer. He considers himself fortunate to be able to blend his passion for his native language, Italian, along with English and Spanish, with his career.