Speak English: What to call people

http://www.engvid.com/ Learn what to call people in casual, professional, and formal situations. Knowing the correct way to refer to people is the key to starting a good conversation. This lesson is important for everyone, but especially if you work with the public. Watch this English lesson to learn the starting point of good manners and good business! Take the quiz to test your understanding at: http://www.engvid.com/what-to-call-people/

TRANSCRIPT:

Hi. My name’s Rebecca. In today’s lesson, you will learn what to call people in various situations. Now, this may seem rather basic, but I’ve actually heard lots of foreigners and English learners make mistakes in this area. So make sure to watch this lesson so you don’t make these basic mistakes. Okay?

So, how do you know what to call someone? Well, it depends on a lot of different factors. Let’s look at what some of them are first. So, is the situation formal or informal? Are you talking to a man or to a woman? Are you speaking to one person or many people? Is it somebody that you know? In other words, do you know their name or is it somebody unknown? And is it a regular kind of a situation or is it a romantic situation?

Now, if it’s a romantic situation, that’s a whole other lesson, but in general, romantically you may call someone: “sweetheart”, “sweetie”, “love”, “honey”, and so on, “baby”, things like that. Okay? That’s romantic. In the rest of the lesson, we’ll talk about all of the other options. Okay?

So let’s start first here. In the first part here at the top, I’ve marked what you should do if you’re talking to someone that you know. In other words, you know the name but it could be a formal situation or an informal situation. Let’s start with the formal situation.

Now, in some cases, we refer to the… A professional-only a few professionals, not all-we refer to them by their title. What does that mean? For example: you may simply call someone: “Doctor. Doctor, what should I do?” All right? You don’t have to necessarily use the name; you can just refer to him as “Doctor”, so you’re using his or her title. You could also do this for Professor; you don’t have to use the last name even though you may know the last name. Let’s say the name is Professor Black, but you don’t have to say: “Professor Black”, you could just say: “Professor”. All right? Or if you’re talking to a police officer… All right? And even if you see his badge, or his name, or something like that – you could still just refer to the person, whether it’s a man or a woman as: “Officer”, and that would do. And it’s nice to do that, it’s polite to do that, it might actually be rather important for you to do that if you’re talking to a police officer. Okay? So in some formal situations, you can refer to the person by their title. These are probably the most common. All right? Other than this, we don’t usually refer to people as… By their title. Okay?

Now, if you know the name but it’s a formal situation, so they’re not good friends of yours or something like that, then you use: “Mr.” if it’s a man with the last name. “Mr. Jones”. If it’s a woman and you know that she’s married, you can say: “Mrs. Smith”. If it’s a woman and she’s not married or you’re not sure if she’s married or not, then you say: “Ms. Brown”. Now, “Ms” is spelt: “M-s”, but it’s pronounced like: “Miz”, “Ms.”, “Ms. Brown”. Okay? So if you’re going up to someone and you say: “Excuse me, Ms. Brown.” Okay? Or: “Excuse me, Mrs. Smith”, and so on. Formal situations.

If it’s an informal situation with a known person, then of course, you can use their first name if in the past you have been told that it’s okay to use their first name. So if you called Mr. Jones, if you said to Mr. Jones: “Excuse me, Mr. Jones”, and he says: “Oh, that’s okay. You can call me ‘John’.” Then, you can refer to him as John after that. The same with women’s names; Mary or Susan. These are for people who are known to you. Okay?

Now, here at the bottom, this is what you do when you’re talking to people who you don’t know. In other words, to strangers. Right? So if you’re talking to a man in a formal situation, you would usually say: “Sir”. Okay? “Good morning, sir.”, “Excuse me, sir.” All right? “May I help you, sir?” All right? Especially in customer service kind of positions or if you work in a hotel – these are very important titles to know.

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