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I placed a phone call and introduced myself this way: "Hi, This is from " and a coworker pointed out that the sentence is grammatically wrong.

While I understand that it sounds a bit weird, I'm wondering if it is entirely wrong. Is it? If yes, What are alternative correct usages that do not require me to provide my name?

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"This is from ..." is still found in some geographies. Could be local influence or a vestige of something long forgotten. –  Kris Jan 14 '12 at 8:09
    
Probably explains why I'm used to it, because I did not learn English in the United States. I do not know where I picked this up and I want to look into it. Do you have any pointers? –  Bhaktavatsalam Nallanthighal Jan 14 '12 at 21:27

3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

In a phone call "this" usually refers to the speaker, so saying "this is from X" is kind of weird. All of the following are normal:

  • This is Name from Company.
  • This is Name.
  • I'm calling from Company.

Since you don't want to give your name, I recommend the last of these.

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You could even say "I am from..." rather than "This is from...". –  Hannele Jan 13 '12 at 18:20
    
If "this" refers to the speaker, isn't saying "this is from X" similar to "I am from X"? I completely realize it sounds weird but is there a specific rule that says it is wrong? Thanks for the alternatives. They are a lot better than what I came up with. –  Bhaktavatsalam Nallanthighal Jan 13 '12 at 18:37
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@Bhaktavatsalam: There's nothing specifically making it "wrong". It's just that when you say "This is John", you mean "The person calling (me) is John". When you say "This is from John" you mean "This call is from John". Anglophones aren't prissy about pushing themselves into the background like that, so we usually use the first version. If you were calling a Japanese company and expected it to be answered by a receptionist who would then transfer to whoever you want to speak to, the second version might actually be seen as "ultra-polite/empathic" (that's how she sees it). –  FumbleFingers Jan 13 '12 at 18:52
    
@Bhaktavatsalam Nallanthighal, Yes, "this" refers to the speaker but the function is different from "I". If I say "This is mustafa", it reads as "the person who is talking on the phone is mustafa. So, this=the person who is talking on the phone –  Mustafa Jan 13 '12 at 18:54
    
What about using This is *Company* or Company here or Good morning from Company? –  Stephen Jan 13 '12 at 19:16

"This is from ..." definitely sounds strange.

In a sentence like, "This is Bob", you can use the word "this" to refer to yourself. But this is really only appropriate when you are connecting "this" to your name or a few other cases where you are identifying yourself, like "This is I" (or as most people incorrectly say it, "This is me"). Otherwise, you should refer to yourself as "I" or "me" or use your name. Don't refer to yourself as "this". If you want to, for example, say that you are the owner of the green car, you would say, "I own the green car", not "This owns the green car." Or you announce yourself by saying, "I am here!", not "This is here!" Etc.

A little thought will show that a special case is required when giving your name. Otherwise, what will you link it to? Saying, "Bob is Bob" is recursive and uninformative. Of course you could say "I am Bob", but in the context of introducing yourself on the phone, you're trying to identify who the caller is rather than just identify yourself.

All that said, if you said, "Hi, this call is from Acme Company ..." I don't think anyone would question it. That is, saying "this call" makes "this" refer to the event rather than to yourself, and thus eliminates the strangeness of the pronoun use.

And regardless of all of that, it's generally considered polite to give your name, like, "This is Bob from Acme Company." Just saying, "This is Acme Company calling" sounds very impersonal.

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If you do not want to introduce yourself you can say

May I speak with xxx?

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Which may be answered with "who's calling?", and we're back to the original problem. –  Monica Cellio Jan 13 '12 at 18:36
    
@Monica Cellio, you are right. The problem arouses because he does not want to give his name. So, your suggestion "I'm calling from Company." seems the most appropriate one –  Mustafa Jan 13 '12 at 18:42
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Arises, not arouses :) –  jwpat7 Jan 13 '12 at 18:50
    
@ jwpat7, thank you, I will edit. :) –  Mustafa Jan 13 '12 at 18:57
    
@jwpat7: It might arouse, depending on who is calling. :-) –  Jay Jan 13 '12 at 21:58

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