How to Introduce Someone in English: Formal & Informal

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Creating a network among people surrounding us is considered a skill of utmost importance. As social beings, we cannot move forward alone. We need to ask for help from others, help them, and work together to make a better world.

In social, academic, or business contexts, you frequently meet new people. Very often, you are introduced to unknown people by someone who is already known to you. Certainly, you also need to introduce other people who are unknown to your family members, friends, colleagues, and the like.   

To introduce someone, you should politely give details about the person to whom you are introducing him or her. You allow them to start a conversation and create an opportunity to know each other. Yet, the expressions that you use to introduce may vary depending on the context: formal or informal.

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Here, we will learn different ways of introducing someone who is already known to you but unknown to the people you are about to introduce them to. We will learn some specific words, phrases, and expressions to do it right.


4 Key Tips to Introduce Someone Irrespective of Contexts

Formal vs. Informal

In both formal and informal contexts, you are expected to…

  • Be sure about the names of those you are introducing and to whom you are introducing.
  • Show importance to both of them by making eye contact.
  • Provide some other information about both of them.
  • Be polite while you speak.

The key rule: Whether you are in a formal or informal situation, you always start the introduction by mentioning the name of the person you are introducing and the person you are introducing him or her to.

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Introducing Someone in a Formal Setting

Introducing Someone in a Formal Setting

In our social and professional life, we deal with different situations. Whether the situation is formal or informal depends on the overall environment.

If it’s a friends’ get-together, certainly it’s an informal setting. What about an annual conference of the company that you work for? Of course, it’s a formal setting.

When you are in a formal setting, your behavior, activities, and even your language require you to follow some conventions that are considered formal. 

If you introduce one of your friends from college to your best childhood friend, you may talk and behave informally. But, when you officially introduce a new colleague to your boss, you are expected to maintain formal expressions. 

Whether you will behave formally or informally while introducing someone depends on the purpose of the introduction and the type of relationship you maintain.

When someone is older than you or he or she is superior in terms of the social or professional hierarchy, you should use formal language. You can follow these tips to introduce someone.

Use “Would” or “May” to Request an Introduction

Starting by introducing someone with a polite request is the best practice for a formal situation.

Suppose you are a Human Resource Manager of a company. You recruited a new System Analyst, Steven Smith. You are now about to introduce him to the Finance Director of the company. You can start the introduction in the following ways…

1) Would you please allow me to introduce our new System Analyst, Steven Smith?

2) I would like to introduce you to our new System Analyst, Steven Smith.

3) May I introduce you to our new System Analyst, Steven Smith?

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Mention the Full Name of Both parties in the Formal Introduction   

Introducing someone in a formal setting requires mentioning the full name of who you’re introducing and to whom you are introducing. As you can see in the above examples, the introducer mentions the full name “Steven Smith.”

May I introduce you to our new System Analyst, Steven Smith? And this is our Finance Director Peter Robinson.  

Mentioning a full name helps to maintain formality and can create a fuller effect on someone’s personality. You should NOT mention only the first or last name, and even you are expected NOT to use any short form of the person’s name, “Steve” for “Steven,” for instance. 

State Title/Designation/Qualification While Introducing Someone Formally

When you use titles to introduce someone, you actually provide extra information about the person. It helps both parties to get to know about the social status as well as the type of possible personality. If you want to introduce your boss to the doctor you always take consultation from, you can say…

I would like to introduce Dr. Robert Peterson to you. And he is my boss John Wallington.  

Here you mention the title “Dr.” which helps your boss to be sure about his profession.  

If you want to introduce your boss to the new team, you can say…

May I introduce our Finance Director, Peter Robinson, to you?    

Here you mention the designation “Finance Director,” which helps the new team to be sure about his position in the company.

You can also mention the qualifications of the person you are going to introduce. It will help create a good first impression too.

Suppose you are an HR Manager of a company. You recruited a new Admin Officer, David Lamb. You are now about to introduce him to the other officers of the Administration team. You can say…

Hello everybody! I would like to introduce our new Admin Officer, David Lamb. He is an Oxford Graduate in Management Studies.  

Here you mention the qualification “Oxford Graduate in Management Studies,” which helps the new team to know about his qualification.

Mentioning any qualification or achievement helps to build a good first impression of the person you are introducing. Even people can remember that specific information for a long time about the person you introduced.

What You Also Can Do While Introducing Someone Formally

Introducing Someone Formally

1) Mention the purpose of the introduction. If you are introducing your Sales Manager to a potential client, mention the purpose of the meeting right after the primary introduction (name, designation, etc.).

2) You can be a little witty to break the ice. If you can put some humorous words and expressions, it would help you to make the environment more comfortable for both the party. But be careful about being humorous. You should not say anything that can fire back.

3) The only purpose of introducing someone to someone else is to create a network. You should try to do everything you can so that your introduction works and their network sustains for a long time. At times you can ask them to exchange contact details or business cards. Moreover, you can also ask them to be connected on professional social media like LinkedIn.    

4) If you introduce more than one person or a group to someone, don’t forget to introduce everybody individually. No one should feel inferior to any sort of ignorance on your part.

5) While introducing every member of a team, it would be good if you could talk about their individual contribution as a team member. But again, don’t say anything that can demean any of them.  

6) If you introduce someone from your very close professional connection list, you can talk about your views toward the person. You can talk about the way you people have maintained a very good professional relationship, how long you have been working together and the achievements as well.

7) Be polite and modest! Your one wrong choice of word or expression can create a devastating effect on the total environment. As it is a formal setting, think before you speak.

8) Be respectful of cultural norms. Introducing someone may vary from culture to culture. If you introduce someone from eastern culture to a western, you should act according to the culture of their own. You should not be careless about the cultural norms and practices while making formal introductions.

Introducing Someone in an Informal Setting

Introducing Someone in an Informal Setting

In contrast to the formal setting, an informal setting refers to a comparatively relaxed and friendly environment. You don’t need to be that careful about what you say as you need to be in a formal situation.

You can have fun and stay relaxed. But remember, your politeness is always the key, no matter whether you introduce someone in a formal or informal situation. Let’s look at some points that you may take into consideration for introducing someone in an informal situation.

Mentioning Only the First Name Is Okay

When you introduce one of your friends to another, you are expected to remain informal.

Suppose Jason Goldhawk is your close friend from your school, and now you are a college student and have made a few friends. Rebecca William is one of them. Jason and Rebecca are both invited to your house, and you are about to introduce them.

You can simply start the introduction by saying…

Jason, meet my friend Rebecca.

You only use their first names. Mentioning only the first name shows that the situation is informal, and they all can behave casually.

Be Casual and Friendly While Introducing in an Informal Setting

When you introduce someone in an informal context, you don’t need to be uptight. You don’t need to be too much choosy regarding words. You say whatever you feel to.

Introducing a friend is always a fun thing to do. No one expects you to be formal. The more you stay normal and casual, the more the environment will be friendly.

No one expects formal greetings like “Good Evening” rather than “What’s up” is a better option in an informal situation. And even be casual in terms of your body language. You should not stay stiff and reserved. Speak and move freely and naturally. 

What You Also Can Do While Introducing Someone Informally

Introducing Someone Informally

Saying something special about the friends you are about to introduce can help create impressions about them. You can say something interesting and funny so that it shows the situation is informal, and they can act accordingly. But remember, don’t say anything that can hurt someone. 

Help them find common and mutual interests when the primary introduction is done. This will act as an ice breaker and will allow them to be engaged in talking for a longer period of time. They will be able to know about their family and friends, their views on different daily life issues, likings and dislikes, and so on.

Avoiding professional talks is discouraged in an informal setting. People want to stay relaxed at informal dinners or parties. They may not feel interested in talking about serious issues.

Help them connect on social media. Your purpose is to create an opportunity so that one can know about each other. You don’t need to talk about everything about them. Let them be mingled and connected and find information about each other.  

Be polite! Being polite is the key. Informal situations allow you to remain casual and friendly, but it does not mean you can say and do whatever you want. No matter what situation you are in, you are always expected to be polite. One can be polite and friendly at the same time.  

In Conclusion

The above discussion can help you introduce someone in English. I have shared some expressions and tips to introduce someone in formal, informal, and semi-formal situations

Thanks for reading.

Happy learning.

Niaj A A Khan is an ESL Instructor with over 7 years of experience in teaching & developing resources at different universities and institutes. Mr. Khan is also a passionate writer working on his first book, "Learn English at Ease."

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