How to address people in English?

What to call people in English when you speak or write to them. This page explains formal and informal ways to address people, with example sentences and audio.

English learners are frequently perplexed about how to address others properly. Many people are hesitant to ask, "What should I call you?" This question is awkward even for native English speakers. Many women, for example, do not know how to address their boyfriend's mother. On the other hand, some parents are stumped as to how to address their children's teacher.

First name

surname,family name,last name







Asking the question

If you're not sure what to call someone, use a formal address or simply ask one of the following questions:

  • What should I call you?
  • What should I call your mum/ the teacher/ the manager?
  • Can I call you (first name,ex-Sarah) ?

Answering the question

You might not be the only one who is curious about titles. Students, coworkers, and acquaintances may be unsure what to call you. If they appear unsure how to pronounce your name, or if you want them to call you something more casual, assist them by saying:

  • Please, call me ( first name )
  • You can call me ( nickname or short form )

Formal and Informal titles

Some professional relationships require formal titles whereas some close relationships require informal titles. You can understand it easily by the table given below:




first name





Frequently asked questions-
  • What should I call my teacher?- He or she will most likely tell you on the first day during the introduction. Unless he or she tells you otherwise, use a formal title. Don't call yourself a "teacher."
  • What should I call my child’s teacher- start with a formal title like Mr. or Mrs/ Miss. When the child is not present then the teacher may give you permission to call his/her first name.