How to introduce yourself in natural English at parties
Conversation: Introducing yourself in natural English when meeting at a party
Learn how to introduce yourself in natural English when meeting people for the first time at parties and other social events. Check you know the meaning and pronunciation of all the phrases that appear in the following conversation between Todd and Matt.
Todd: Hi—you must be John’s cousin Matt, right? From San Diego?
M a t t : Correct! I just got in last night.
Todd: I’m Todd, Johns roommate from Tech. Glad to meet you. I can assure you that I’m not anything like what John has told you.
M a t t : I’m happy to meet you, too—and, yes—I have heard about you! Football player and party animal extraordinaire.
Todd: Football, yes—and as a matter of fact, I do like parties. But tell me more about yourself and what you do in San Diego.
Matt: Well, I’m more (of) a surfer than a football player. You know, San Diego has a fantastic coast—and we can surf all day and then party on the beach at night.
Todd: That sounds awesome. How long are you staying?
Matt: Well, I’ll be here for two weeks. John has promised me a nonstop schedule— kind of a mix of sightseeing, meeting his friends, checking out the local scene, and—hopefully—camping in the mountains for a couple of days.
Todd: John’s a good guy—and you can be sure he knows the local scene. He knows everybody in town. I’m sure he’ll show you a good time. And his friends are here to help.
M a t t : Thanks so much—I really appreciate that. I’m still a bit jet-lagged at the moment but should be in good shape by tomorrow. I’m looking forward to hearing what John has in store for me.…
Todd: Don’t worry. We’ll all take good care of you. And don’t be surprised if we show up on your doorstep in San Diego one day, ready for surfing!
Improving your conversation
So, to introduce yourself in natural English to people you meet for the first time at parties or at any other situation we have to face in our everyday life, try to include some of these expressions:
I’m Todd (Jones)
Simply using I’m and then saying your name is one way to introduce yourself. You could also say, for example, My name’s Todd (Jones). It is customary to offer your right hand in a handshake to the other person. In very informal situations, you could just say Hi, I’m Todd, with no handshake.
To introduce one or more people other than yourself, say: This is (my wife,) Mary. And this is Susan, Bob, and Joe.
To introduce more than one person and also tell how you know them, say:
These are my friends, Susan and Bob. And this is Jim, my coworker.
All of the people introduced would then shake hands. You could also say:
I want you to meet (my friends,) Susan and Bob.
Glad/happy to meet you
When you have been introduced to someone, it is customary to say (I’m) glad/happy to meet you or It’s nice to meet you. The reply is I’m happy to meet you or I’m happy to meet you, too. (The superscript words are pronounced slightly louder than the others.)
Right? is an informal way to ask for confirmation that what you have just said is true. The answer can be That’s right!
This train goes to Washington, right? That’s right.
You’re from Panama, right? That’s right, I am.
This is an informal answer to a question that asks for confirmation.
You’re Matt, aren’t you? Correct!
This is Economics 101, right? Correct!
If you want to tell your questioner that he or she is not correct, you can politely say this with, for example:
No, that’s not right.
No, that’s not correct.
No, I’m not Matt; I’m Jim.
No, she isn’t my sister. She’s my cousin.
(The superscript words in the examples should be spoken slightly louder than the other words in the sentence.)
To sarcastically indicate that something is not correct, Yeah, right! is used.
Dylan, I heard you just won the lottery Yeah, right! Where did you hear that nonsense?
Am, do, etc.
When a yes-or-no question using the verb to be is asked, the answer can be made emphatic by following it with a tag, in which, if the answer is yes, the verb is said a little louder than the other words. Affirmative tag answers are not contracted.
Are you unhappy? Yes, I am
Is he sick? Yes, he is
Are we winning? Yes, we are
Are they leaving? Yes, they are
When the answer is no, there are two ways to answer with a tag. The superscript words are the ones said a little louder. Negative tag answers are usually contracted. The full form makes them more emphatic.
Are you unhappy? No, I’m not./No, I am not.
Is he sick? No, he’s not./No, he isn’t./No, he is not.
Are we winning? No, we’re not./No, we aren’t./No, we are not.
Are they leaving? No, they’re not./No, they aren’t./No, they are not.
When an information question using any verb other than to be is asked, the answer can be made emphatic by following it with a tag, in which the verb is said a little louder than the other words.
Do you eat meat? Yes, I do./No, I don’t./No, I do not.
Does he like school? Yes, he does./No, he doesn’t./No, he does not.
Do we wait in line? Yes, we do./No, we don’t./No, we do not.
Do they live here? Yes, they do./No, they don’t./No, they do not.
As a matter of fact
As a matter of fact is a common expression that has a number of different meanings. In our example conversation it introduces a confirmation of what was previously said. It can go before the main clause or after the verb.
I heard you were looking for a job – As a matter of fact, I am!
Your friend is very good-looking – He is, as a matter of fact, single
You can express the same meaning with actually, but put it after the verb.
I heard you were looking for a job. I am, actually.
Your friend is beautiful, but I’ll bet she is married. – She is, actually married.
This use of just indicates that something happened only a short time before. It can be used with the past tense or with the present perfect tense. For example:
I just arrived. I have just arrived.
They just finished. They have just finished.
We just ate. We have just eaten.
He just called. He has just called.
To get in
To get in means to arrive and is usually used in the past tense.
What time did you get in?
They got in late last night.
Another way to say to arrive, when it refers to the future, is to get there.
I hope we get there on time.
She will get there by six.
To get in can also mean to be accepted by a school/college/university or other group with limited membership.
He applied to that college and really hopes to get in.
She didn’t get in her first choice of sororities, but she got in another one, and she’s happy.
I can assure you that. . . /you can be sure (that). . .
These are common ways of saying that you believe something to be true, hoping to win the confidence of the person you are talking to.
I can assure you that I will work hard.
You can be sure that something interesting will happen.
Here is another way to express that you believe something to be true:
I promise you that we won’t leave until the work is done.
Party animal is an informal expression used to characterize someone who spends a lot of time with friends or acquaintances for entertainment—either at home or in public places.
My friend Eric will take you downtown on Saturday night; he’s a real party animal, so you’ll meet lots of people.
Extraordinaire is a word borrowed from French. It is used to exaggerate the meaning of the previous word.
I’d like you to meet Marc—he’s our pastry chef extraordinaire. You have to try his cheesecake!
What do you do?
The question What do you do? asks what one’s job or occupation is. When you answer with a form of to be, you give a general job title. Note that the article a is always used when referring to only one person but is never used when referring to more than one person.
What do you do? I’m a lawyer.
What does he do? He’s a painter.
What does she do? She’s a banker.
What do they do? They’re professors.
When the answer refers to someone who has a special title or position (i.e., is the only one in that position), use the instead of a.
What does he do? He’s the president of ABC Enterprises.
What do you do? I’m the school secretary (the only one).
When you answer with another verb, you give more specific information about where you work.
What do you do? I work for a large firm.
What does he do? He drives a delivery truck.
What does she do? She works at Atlas Bank.
What do they do? They teach French at Loyola.
When a specific time or place is included in the question, the answer refers to how people spend their time, not just what their jobs are.
What do you do on weekends? I relax and hang out with my friends.
What does she do at the beach? She surfs, relaxes on the beach, and goes to the boardwalk for fun.
Tell me about yourself
Tell me about yourself is a polite way to let someone know that you are interested in learning more about him or her. It is better than asking direct questions, as the person being asked can decide what to tell and what not to tell. For example:
Tell me about yourself.
Well, I’m twenty-seven, I have a degree in mathematics, and I’ve been working at SYZ Company for three years. My parents are both economists, and I have a sister who’s a nurse and two younger brothers. They all live in Connecticut, where I was born. I’m crazy about football and have season tickets. I listen to reggae, etc.
Awesome is an expression that is used a lot—maybe too much!—to say that you think something is really good. Other ways to express the same thing include great, fantastic, terrific, wonderful, and cool.
Thank you for taking me— you’re awesome!
Nonstop schedule describes the activities of a very busy person, whether it be because of work, school, family responsibilities, or even social life.
I don’t have time to see you this week, with my nonstop schedule.
Other ways to indicate nonstop activity are around-the-clock or twenty-four-seven (twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week).
I get telephone calls around-the-clock.
He works twenty-four-seven, so I hardly ever see him.
A mix refers to a combination of different elements, usually indicating variety.
There will be a good mix of music at the wedding, to keep the grandparents, the parents, and the young people happy.
We invited a mix of people—family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors.
Hopefully is a word inserted to indicate your wishes that something will happen. It can come in the middle of a verb phrase (will + hopefully + verb), before the subject, or at the end of a sentence.
I’ll hopefully graduate in two years.
Hopefully, I’ll graduate in two years.
I’ll graduate in two years, hopefully.
If we leave right away, hopefully we’ll arrive on time.
A couple of
A couple really means two; however, informally, it can mean more than that—but it does indicate a small number.
I’ll see you in a couple of hours. I’ll see you sometime today.
It only costs a couple of dollars. It costs less than five dollars.
He’ll be home in a couple of months. He’ll be home before the end of the year.
A good guy
Calling someone a good guy is a common way to recommend a male as being understanding of someone’s situation, helpful, or generous. A female with the same kind of recommendation would be called understanding/ helpful/ generous.
If you’re looking for a used car, go see Sam Smith; he’s a good guy and will probably give you a good price.
If you want a teaching job, call Mary Johnson; she’s very understanding and will give you good advice.
The local scene
The local scene refers to the culture and range of entertainment offered in a particular area.
I’m moving to Springfield next month. Oh, it’s great! There are lots of things to do.
What’s the local scene like there? at night and on weekends.
To show someone a good time
To show someone a good time means to make sure he or she is entertained.
If you come visit in December, we’ll show you a good time. All our friends have parties in December!
Thanks so much
Thanks so much is a common way of expressing appreciation. Other ways to say this are Thank you very much/Thanks a lot/I really appreciate this/You’re a doll (very informal)/You’re a sweetheart (very informal).
The reply to any of these could be You’re welcome/No problem/I’m glad I could help you/ Glad to help/Any time. Thanks so much for fixing my tire. No problem. I really appreciate it.
Thank you very much for helping us. You’re welcome. Any time.
To be in good shape
To be in good shape means to be fit financially or situationally.
My sister’s husband has a good job, so they’re in good shape financially.
She has a good education and a lot of experience, so she’s in good shape for the job market.
A similar expression, to be in shape, means to be physically fit.
She exercises every day to stay in shape.
You look great. How do you stay in shape?
To be looking forward to something
The expression looking forward to indicates that the speaker is very happy about a future event.
I’m looking forward to seeing you on Saturday.
She’s really looking forward to going to college in the fall.
Another way to say this is with the expression, can’t wait to.
I can’t wait to see you on Saturday.
She can’t wait to go to college in the fall.
To have in store for
The phrase to have in store for indicates an unknown situation that someone presents to someone else; it can be good or bad.
Well, I’m going home, but I have no idea what my family will have in store for me.
We’re going shopping tomorrow to see what the designers have in store for us this season.
He’s been working there for years, but he never knows what’s in store for him until he gets there.
To show up on someone’s doorstep
To show up on someone’s doorstep means to visit someone without notice. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you plan to stay overnight—or longer—but it’s possible.
I was just getting ready to go out when my cousin showed up on my doorstep.
Related expressions are drop in and drop by, but these are used only for short visits—never an overnight stay.
We were in town, so we decided to drop in to see you.
Please drop by for a while. I miss seeing you.
To show up, on the other hand, is used negatively to indicate that someone often doesn’t appear when expected.
Pia said she was coming, but you never know if she’ll show up or not.
Another meaning of show up, when used with a direct object, is to perform or seem better than someone else.
Your singing was fantastic! You showed up all the other contestants.
He will show up the competition with his fantastic speech.
She showed us all up when she came in wearing that red dress!
So, next time you find yourself in a situation in which you have to introduce yourself and to establish new relationships, remember these expressions of natural English that native speakers use. Hope this has been helpful for you!