I'm Portuguese and I live in Portugal. Here it's (still) common to see some people using their academic/professional title in introductions: "Hi, I'm Doctor / Dr. / Eng. X".

However, when watching some videos from people living in English speaking countries, I see that some people say "My name is Doctor/Dr. X" instead of "I'm Doctor / Dr. X" and that "sounds weird" to me, because "Dr./Doctor" is NOT part of (almost) anyone's name, as far as I believe.

Is this use of "My name is [TITLE] X" instead of "I'm [TITLE] X" a cultural thing? Does this happen only in some English speaking countries and not in others?

  • 3
    One might use "my name is" when introducing themselves "cold" to another party, where the other party would likely be unaware of who they were. "I am" would be used when the other party more or less knew who the speaker was. Eg, upon approaching a reception desk at a business, you might say "I am" if you have an appointment, but "my name is" if you do not.
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 4, 2015 at 23:08
  • @HotLicks: Ah! I never thought of that (using "my name is" when the other party does not know me at all, "versus" using "I am" when I'm expected). Could you turn your comment into an answer? Although all the other answers are useful (and I'm thankful for them and I'll upvote them now), it seems to me that your comment is the only one (so far) that points to a likely explanation for some people using "My name is [TITLE] X" vs "I am [TITLE] X".
    – ricmarques
    Jan 5, 2015 at 21:43
  • Is it possible that this is from watching English-language videos that are dubbed or subtitled into Portuguese, and it's an oddity of the translation?
    – JeffSahol
    Jan 21, 2019 at 20:44

5 Answers 5


As a native English speaker, this usage is odd to me, as well. My thought is that the speaker purposely uses this form to emphasize that she or he wishes to be referred to by their title, not informally. The "my name is doctor..." construction might be used in fiction for purpose of characterization, such as to show the speaker believes she or he was addressed in a condescending manner.


If I were more pompous than I already am, I might introduce myself as Mr. Smith.

Nobody has conferred the title of Mister upon me. It is a title that my culture applies to people of my, er, standing (or lack thereof).

In professional circles, or where I wish to take advantage of entitlement, I might substitute Sir, Doctor, Professor, Councillor, Senator, Captain, President, or other title, in place of Mister.

With tongue in cheek, I referred to pompousness. But it really just depends on the circles (environment) we move in. Of course, one should only use titles to which we are ... entitled.

  • 1
    citations to support you answer?
    – lbf
    Aug 26, 2018 at 16:26

In hospital environments I've heard doctors introduce themselves as "My name is doctor X" though I agree with Pippik that "I'm doctor X" is far more common. If a doctor refers to himself as "Dr X" it obviously means that he wishes to be addressed in that manner. Outside his workplace, one would only say that, if he wanted the listener to know he is a doctor. Likewise, if someone asks me my name and I answer "My name is Professor O'Connor", it is clear that I just want the other person to know I'm a Professor.


To a native Russian speaker both cases sound odd. It seems to be very strange that being a doctor is so important that someone uses the professional title in personal introduction in any form (unless he inthoduces himself at work).

In the case of "My name is" profession is a bit more integrated into personal life, so that a person can't even separate his personal life and his work ("I am the work I do").


In US culture, "My name is Doctor X" (My name is Professor X), aside from being inaccurate (your title is not your name) can sound pretentious and appear as if the speaker is eager to assert his or her credentials. "I'm Doctor X," however, is perfectly acceptable, whether to identify oneself among a group of other medical professionals, or as a simple introduction. In the US, self-identifying as "doctor" is appropriate only for physicians. In academia, students may refer to their professor who holds a PhD as Doctor X.

On the television show "Bull" I have frequently heard the title character introduce himself, "My name is Doctor Jason Bull." It's an error on the part of the writers.

  • "In the US, self-identifying as "doctor" is appropriate only for physicians." Well, surgeons, dentists, chiropractors, podiatrists, PhD psychologists, veterinarians, and so on all can appropriately identify themselves as doctors as well, so it would be more accurate to say it's appropriate for "practitioners of healing holding a doctoral-level degree", not limited to physicians. Aug 26, 2018 at 17:06
  • My mistake. You are correct; I should have said those in the medical profession. Sep 8, 2018 at 13:00
  • Before I responded, I should have looked up the definition of physician, and I would advise those who wish to correct me to do the same. Sep 8, 2018 at 13:10

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