(How to introduce yourself on the first day at work or school? Learn the verbs ser, llamarse and tener).
Returning to work or starting a new year at school or University, often implies meeting new people. Whether it is a new colleague or classmate, or you just want to make new friends, if you want to get off to a good start with a Spanish speaker, the first step is to introduce yourself. This week's blog will cover how to use the verbs ser, llamarse and tener when introducing yourself.
First of all, before asking and telling names, we should start the conversation with a greeting. Here are some examples: Hola (hello or hi) or Buenos días (Good morning), Buenas tardes (Good afternoon) or Buenas noches (Good evening) are some good options to start.
After greeting, we could ask their name. To do that, we use the verb llamarse. This regular reflexive verb means to be called or to call ourselves. This verb is conjugated preceded by the pronouns: me, te, se, nos, os, se (which would translate as myself, yourself, himself or herself, etc.). When we ask someone's name, we say: ¿Cómo te llamas? (What's your name? Lit. What do you call yourself?). In a formal setting, we tend to use usted instead of tú to address, so we must conjugate the verb accordingly. In that case, we would say, ¿Como se llama (usted)?. To answer this question, we can use the verb llamarse in the first person: Me llamo… followed by your name. This will literally translate as I call myself. Another way to say our name is by using: Mi nombre es… followed by your name. This would translate as My name is (_____).
The verb llamarse is conjugated like this:
Yo me llamo
Tú te llamas
El/Ella/Usted se llama
Nosotros/as nos llamamos
Vosotros/as os llamáis
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes se llaman
Some examples of the use of llamarse:
Hola, me llamo Lea y tú, ¿cómo te llamas? (Hi, my name is Lea, what’s your name?)
¿Cómo os llamáis? (What's your name?) (when addressing more than one person)
Yo me llamo Antonio y ella se llama Sofia. (My name is Antonio and her name is Sofia.)
Te llamas Maria , ¿verdad? (Your name is Maria, right?)
We say "nice to meet you" after we say our name. There are a few ways we can say this in Spanish. Here are some of them:
Encantado/a de conocerte - pleased to meet you
In casual conversation, it's widespread to say encantado (if you're male) or encantada (if you're female).
Mucho gusto - Nice to meet you
Es un placer - it's a pleasure.
Hola, ¿cómo te llamas? (Hi, what’s your name?)
Me llamo… Y tú, ¿cómo te llamas? (My name is… What’s your name?)
Yo me llamo… (My name is…)
Encantada de conocerte. (Pleased to meet you)
Now, let's see the conjugation of the verb ser (to be).
Yo soy - I am
Tu eres - You are
El/ella/usted es - He/she is, you are (formal)
Nosotros somos - We are
Vosotros sois - You are (plural)
Ellos/ellas/ustedes son -They are, you are (formal, plural)
The verb ser can also be used to say our name. For example, "Soy Lea" (I'm Lea) and "me llamo Lea" (My name is Lea) can both be used interchangeably. In the first case, we are using the verb ser and in the second one, we are using the verb llamarse.
If we want to introduce someone else in Spanish, we also use the verb ser in the third person (in singular es or plural son). For example, if we want to introduce just one person, we will use the pronoun el, ella (he, she) or este, esta (this) plus the verb ser in the third person singular.
- Él es Oscar. (He is Oscar)
- Este es Oscar. (This is Oscar)
If we want to introduce more than one person, we use the third person of the verb ser but in its plural form, son.
- Ellas son Maria y Ester. (They are Maria and Ester)
- Estas son Maria y Ester. (These are Maria and Ester)
In Spanish, it is also important to also mention your relationship with them, saying if they're either a colleague (compañero de trabajo), a relative (hermano, primo, padre) or other (amigo, pareja, etc). You can use possessive adjectives.
-Este es mi hermano Oscar. (This is my brother Oscar)
-Esta es mi amiga Lucia. (This is my friend Lucia)
Apart from telling our name, the verb ser can also be used to talk about our profession or nationality.
Soy profesora de español. (I am a Spanish teacher)
Soy española. (I am Spanish)
¿Tu amigo es francés o inglés? (Is your friend French or English?)
Another important thing you can mention when introducing yourself is your age. In Spanish, we don't use the verb ser (to be) to talk about age. Instead, we use the verb tener (to have) followed by años (years). The verb tener is conjugated the following way:
Once we know how to conjugate the verb tener, we need to learn the numbers in Spanish and add años (years) at the end. You can follow the formula "Tengo" + our age (number) + años (years).
¿Cuántos años tienes? (How old are you? Lit. How many years do you have?)
Tengo 26 (veintiséis) años. (I'm 26 years old. Lit. I have 26 years)
Now that we've gone through all the basics for you to start a conversation in Spanish, why don't you give it a try? Please introduce yourself in the comments, and let's talk!
- Lea, Queralt