DON’T Say ME LLAMO, Use THESE 4 Alternatives Instead!
Me llamo y ¿cómo te llamas? (My name is and what’s your name?) are totally acceptable way to say your name and ask for the name of the other person.
But wouldn’t it be nice to add some variety to that? Let’s have a look at 4 alternatives that Spanish-speaking natives love to use as well.
Mi nombre es (My name is) Maura, I’m a Spring Spanish teacher and here is alternative número uno (number 1):
1. Mi nombre es (my name is)
¡Hola! Mi nombre es Claudia, mucho gusto.
(Hi! My name is Claudia, nice to meet you.)
¡Hola, Claudia! Mi nombre es Paula. El gusto es mío.
(Hi, Claudia! My name is Paula. The pleasure is mine.)
So, saying mi nombre es (my name is) is your first alternative for me llamo (I’m called) because it would be the most common thing to substitute it with. Especialmente en Latinoamérica (Especially in Latin America.)
In most scenarios we would only say the name, but in more formal situations you might add your last name as well.
¡Hola! Mi nombre es Claudia Izaguirre, mucho gusto.
(Hello! My name is Claudia Izaguirre, nice to meet you.)
Por cierto (By the way), stick with me till the end if you want to know what to say if you are one of those cool people with a nickname that most people use instead of your actual name.
2. Soy (I am)
¡Hola! Soy Amanda, encantada.
(Hi! I'm Amanda, delighted to meet you.)
¡Hola, Amanda! Igualmente. Soy Carla.
(Hi, Amanda! You too. I'm Carla.)
Notice how I’m adding things like mucho gusto and encantada (nice to meet you and delighted to meet you) right after? This way the presentation sounds organic and, well, whole.
De lo contrario, podríamos parecer secos o inaccesibles. (Otherwise we might come out as dry or inaccessible.) But hey, sometimes that’s exactly what we want so, keep it in mind if that’s the case. For more presentation tips, make sure to check out Juan’s video on the subject right here. He makes a hilarious joke about the word soy (am).
Encantada (delighted) is a chunk you can use instead of mucho gusto (nice to meet you) when introducing yourself to another person. Es muy común en Venezuela, especialmente para las mujeres. (It is very common in Venezuela, especially for women.) I know my mom has always said this, and I just felt very grown up and classy by saying it. I guess it’s because it sounds similar to the “enchanté” from French.
There are many more everyday chunks you can start using right now if you click on that link in the description and access our free Essential Spanish Chunking kit!
Of course, you could also use this soy (am), and any other alternative, to say your apellido (last name) if the context calls for it.
¡Hola! Soy Amanda Barradas, encantada.
(Hi! I'm Amanda Barradas, nice to meet you.)
¡Hola, Amanda! Igualmente. Soy Carla Betancourt.
(Hi, Amanda! You too. I'm Carla Betancourt.)
Soy (I am) isn’t very common for me as a Venezuelan. As a matter of fact, when I first came to Spain I noticed that most people here would use it to introduce themselves, and it felt totally new for me. That being said, it’s perfectly understandable and a good option if you’d rather keep it short. Pero resulta que hay una alternativa aún más corta. (But there happens to be an even shorter alternative.)
3. Just say your name
¡Hola! Samanta. Un placer.
(Hi! Samanta. Pleasure to meet you.)
Irene. El placer es mío.
(Irene. The pleasure is mine.)
Maybe this would be the trickiest of the three because it does require some precise timing and rhythm. Ahora, esta alternativa súper corta es muy común para mí como latinoamericana. (Now, this super short alternative would be very common for me as a Latin American.) Far more than soy (I am).
Pero hablemos un poco de ese ritmo. (Let’s talk a little bit about that rhythm, though.) Of course the other person knows their own name, so it shouldn’t be as confusing, but make sure to make a little pause between greeting them and saying your name. Like:
- ¡Hola! Samanta. Un placer. (Hi! Samanta. It’s a pleasure.)
Do you notice how the name sounds separate from everything else? It does feel different than saying:
- ¡Hola! Samanta. Un placer. (Hi! Samanta. It’s a pleasure).
Saying it in one breath like this might make it sound as if you’re saying hello to a Samanta. In other words, the other person might hear it and feel like you think their name is Samanta.
Este es mi favorito, realmente. (This one’s my favorite, really.) I don’t think I use any of the other alternatives more than this one, and I do happen to like it more. It feels cooler for me, for some reason.
4. Me llaman (They call me)
Here’s that chunk you can use if you have a nickname you’d rather them using instead of your actual name.
¡Hola! Mi nombre es Adriana, pero me llaman Chichi.
(Hi! My name is Adriana, but they call me Chichi.)
¡Chichi! Qué buen sobrenombre.
(Chichi! What a good nickname.)
Saying me llaman (they call me) can let them know your actual name (which is always a good idea) but making sure they’ll know that most people around you won’t use that to refer to you.
De hecho, tengo un par de amigos (In fact, I have a couple of friends) I grew up with who only used their nicknames, and a lot of people had no idea who I was talking about when I called them by their real name. If you happen to have a nickname, why don’t you let me know in the comments? ¡Me encantaría leerlos! (I’d love to read them!)
Now, let’s go over your alternatives to me llamo (my name is) once more, so you can pick out your favorite and use it to let me know cuál es tu nombre (which one’s your name) in the comments!
So, you can say:
- Mi nombre es Maura. (My name is Maura.)
- Soy Maura (I am Maura.)
Remember, the last one only requires you to separate your name from everything else. Also, that you can add your apellido (last name) anytime you see it fit with any of these alternatives.
- Mi nombre es Maura, pero me llaman Mau. (My name is Maura, but they call me Mau.)
Here, you can use any of the previous to say your actual name, but do use me llaman to introduce your nickname. En mi caso (In my case), few people really call me Mau, but I did use “M” as a nickname while living in Boston because I couldn’t get used to people pronouncing Maura as Mora.
What’s next once your conversation partner said their name? Easy, you tell them mucho gusto (nice to meet you).