Introduce yourself properly without irritating innocent bystanders

We shall start our lesson today by staring at the blackboard.  Okay, it is not really a blackboard.  It's just a wooden background.  But this issue don vex me so tay I carry my legs go construct placard wey I go take use illustrate.  Let me save you the heartache of reading my poor attempt at pidgin any further.  I will continue in English for your sake (You're welcome).  What I was saying was that this issue annoyed me to the point that I decided to make two visual aids to demonstrate what exactly I mean.

So, for the sake of today's blog post, we have two examples:

Example 1: The Wrong Method

Example 2: The Correct Method

Guess which 'Method' this example illustrates?

But wait, I am getting way ahead of myself.  Let me back up and start from the top.
If you have ever been around Nigerians and watched them introduce themselves, either in person or online (e.g. on Facebook, Twitter - the usual suspects), I am sure you have heard someone say something like this:

Hi.  My names are Adeyinka Grace

In this example, Adeyinka is her last name and Grace is her first name.  And don't even get me started on the fact that she said the forbidden words: "My names ARE" (Relentless starts screaming "Stop it, I beg you!")

Please, my dear readers, I ask you: On what planet do you even introduce yourself starting with your last name?

I went on a quest to find out if maybe I was the one imagining that this was wrong.  It turns out I wasn't.

According to the University of Houston Career Services, the proper order to use to introduce yourself is: First name and then Last name.

Another source, I found said the same thing: Start with your First name.

So, Naija people, where did we get this idea that we should start with the Last name, and then First name?

I refuse to pull out my hair over this.

Instead, I will help point you in the right direction, just in case you wake up tomorrow and claim to have forgotten the key points of today's lesson.

Back to our examples.

Example 1, a.k.a The Wrong Method 
(Last Name, First Name)

I have no further words for you if this is how you have been introducing yourself.  Please, change your ways.  Thank you. And use this board as a guide.

Wrong Method

Example 2, a.k.a The Correct Method
(First Name, Last Name)

This is the right way to do it.  No further remarks.

Correct Method

Final Question: How do you usually introduce yourself? Choose your words carefully (eyes narrowed)

I decided to share this song, Ololufe by Fadehan Adebolu with you.  The review and more information on this artiste follows in a separate blog post.

Enjoy and have a blessed week ahead!

It's good you shared this. My ears always hurts when i hear someone introduce themselves using *my names are*. But sha,I'm guilty at times using my last name before my first. I've learnt something today.

Well for me I say "My names is..." Kidding jor. lol. Funny enough I always thought it was right though it didn't sound right using it myself. You should see the confidence with which people use to say the phrase attimes. Hehe, we learn everyday.

lwkm.....I always say "my name is Lucy" then if the person starts looking at me like my introduction is incomplete i'll say "sorry, Lucy ******" never knew the other method is wrong tho
ermmmm.......there was a time when "my names are" was the in it just sounds stupid

You know that feeling when you know something is wrong and then you feel confused about it when so many people seem to be using it. Lol! Thanks for the clarification. However, I always feel uncomfortable using my full name because it's a mouthful. Imagine,'Hi, my name is Adebayo .........

So I always prefer 'my name is Bayo'.


Argh... thank God! I just thought that I was simple not educated enough (or not cool enough) to realize that 'my names are' is the right way to say it... hmm

My name, however, is Oge :)

I always use my first name jere. Kini gbogbo senrenre.

Hi, My name is Toinlicious (yea, i know it's a mouthful) Imagine me adding my surname to the mix. Then it'll be Toinlicious Omotiyabi-to-fo'oja-Aran-pon *wipes brow*

lol... "my names are" na wa o, english no be our mother tongue thanks for sharing dear and like Micheal said, "we learn everyday!

LOL so true! Please is there a way this post can be maded into a formal notice for a lot of Nigerians?! Who even started that "My names are"? Someone really needs to be flogged.
Thanks for sharing :)

However, people please note that when you are filling forms and official documents, you'd most likely be required to start with your surname :)

Nigerians and the English language, we no go kill ourselves..."my names are" really gives me headache.

The way some people mess themselves up with this 'my names are' ehn... and they will be very confident saying it.

Lol...didn't even know "my names are..." existed somewhere . This is my first time hearing about it. Maybe i'm not surrounding myself with enough Nigerians. Reading it rings my ears the wrong way, not to talk of hearing someone actually say it.

I had always wondered about that, but cos so many people do it i thought it was acceptable... thanks for the education..phew!

My 'Names are" gosh!!I don't like hearin dt phrase @all and most esp wen it happens on TV and ppl say it boldly.ur surname&name,is it nt ur name in full?!!sigh!!well is well

I don't get why we nigerians must like to show ourselves with bad English grammar.. My names are ko My names were ni...

Isn't Jesus Christ also called Christ Jesus? lol *jokes*
And even James Bond calls his last name first: "Bond, James Bond"
I'm talking solely on the order of one's name here.
It might be a Nigerian thing but we can't totally blame people who introduce themselves by mentioning their surnames (last names) first. If you've filled a lot of forms or perhaps written exams in Nigeria, you would know that in most of these forms you are required to enter your SURNAME FIRST. It's written boldly and sometimes in brackets.
Another thing is, unlike the western world where people are referred to on a first name basis, in Nigeria, calling someone by their "Father's name" is the thing. If you were not teased by your father's name in primary school, then you weren't raised in Naija, then you get used to it in secondary or higher institution. Then when you get a job, it's the normal thing to be called Mr. or Mrs. Whatever-your-surname is. Nobody cares about your first name unless it's intimate.
I remember finding it hard to call my boss by her first name when she insisted coz I thought I'd be rude.

I also blame our (primary) school system for the "my names are" thing. First time I heard it, it was in a primary school debate competition on NTA and sadly I still here it often

My names are? Reads weird and I'm sure it sounds weird too.

warriz going on here? Our comments nko?


Toinlicious (and everyone too):  Your comments are intact.  Every last one of them.  

It has always been "my name is" for me but, I've never had the oppurtinity of introducing myself publicly though. As for the last name coming before the first, lol, I do that on a regular, I guess our cultures also made it that way! But I've learned that here today! Thanks

Golden Ohadugha


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