Why is the right form

Hello, this is yzT from english.stackechange.com.

instead of

Hello, I’m yzT from english.stackexchange.com.

I guess non-natives tend to use the latter due to literal translation, but why do natives use the former? You are identifying yourself, telling who you are; that’s why I don’t understand why the latter is wrong.

  • I am curious too to find answers of natives. Interesting question! :) Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 11:02
  • 4
    When calling, people don't care who you are, per se; they care who this person that picked up the phone is. (People would also ask Who's this?, not Who are you? if they didn't recognize the speaker's voice.)
    – user13141
    Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 11:49
  • 1
    @onomatomaniak: That's the other way round, and is common in AmE but not BrE.
    – DavidR
    Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 14:08

1 Answer 1


"I am" refers to my self, as a being; I was (existed) before I started the call. "This" refers to the caller, who was not the caller before he called. Actually, "this" could also refer to a recipient, or any other 'telecommunicative-endpoint' (such as a radio operator). Note that "this" covers situations where "I" would not be appropriate. For example:

"This is the operator."
"This is the police."
"This is reception, how may I direct your call?"
"This is the USS Intrepid."

Also note that in most German-speaking countries, "here" is often used ("Smith here."). (Where else would I be, if not 'here'?)

  • Oh, also - 'I am' wouldn't be wrong, just unusual and somewhat awkward
    – hunter2
    Commented Apr 18, 2013 at 9:15

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