French Introductions: Les Présentations

Learn how to introduce yourself and others in French

Introducing Yourself in French
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When you meet French speakers, you need to know how to introduce yourself and what to say when you are introduced. French can be a bit tricky when introducing yourself or others depending on whether you know the person to whom you are making the introduction(s) or even if you have had any contact with the person. In French, those circumstances all require different introductions.

Basic Introductions

French uses the verb se présenter not introduire, meaning to introduce something into something else, which translates into English as "to insert." The most basic introduction in French, then, would be:

  • Je me présente. > Let me introduce myself.

Using s’appeler is the common way to introducing yourself in French. Don’t think of it as “to name oneself” because it will only confuse you. Think of it in the context of introducing your name to someone, and link the French words to that context instead of applying a literal translation, as in:

  • Je m​'appelle... > My name is...

Use je suis with people who already know your name, such as those you have already talked to on the phone or by mail but never met in person, as in:

  • Je suis... > I am...

If you don't know the person or have never spoken to him on the phone or contacted him by email or mail, use je m’appelle, as noted previously.

Introducing by Name

There are also distinctions between formal and informal introductions, as well as singular versus plural introductions, as noted in the tables in this and the subsequent section.

French Introduction

English Translation

Mon prénom est

My (first) name is

Je vous présente (formal and/or plural)

I’d like to introduce

Je te présente (informal)

I'd like to introduce


This is, Here is

Il s'appelle

His name is

Elle s'appelle

Her name is

Meeting People

In French, when you are meeting people, you have to be careful about using the correct gender, as well as whether the introduction is formal or informal, as in these examples.

French Introduction

Enlish Translation

Comment vous appelez-vous? (formal and/or plural)

What is your name?

Comment t'appelles-tu? (informal)

 What is your name?

Enchanté. (masculine)

It's nice to meet you.

 Enchantée. (feminine)

It's nice to meet you.

French Names

Nicknames—or un surnom in French—are much less common in this Romance language than in American English, but they are not unheard of. Often, a longer first name will be shortened, such as Caro for Caroline or Flo for Florence. 

French Name

English Translation

Le prénom

first name, given name

Le nom

last name, family name, surname

Le surnom


Cheek Kissing and Other Greetings

Cheek kissing is certainly an accepted form of greeting in France, but there are strict (unwritten) social rules to follow. Cheek kissing is generally OK, for example, but not hugging. So, it's important to learn not only the words that go with cheek kissing—such as bonjour (hello)—but also the social norms that are expected when greeting someone in this manner. There are also other ways to say hello and ask How are you? in French.

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Lawless, Laura K. "French Introductions: Les Présentations." ThoughtCo, Mar. 19, 2018, Lawless, Laura K. (2018, March 19). French Introductions: Les Présentations. Retrieved from Lawless, Laura K. "French Introductions: Les Présentations." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 21, 2018).