I use to mistake the introductory structure for phone call structure ones, This is...speaking" when chatting on the internet:

William: Who is speaking?

Tomas: This is Tomas speaking. How do you do?

William: How do you do? Could I speak to...

I know I am wrong, because these people are not speaking, but they are writing on keyboard. Could anybody explain this structure to me, please?

  • I made some mistakes here. The phrase "telephone rings" is extra. I forgot to include the complement of the verb "to mistake something for" and it´s not "William asking to speak to, but Tomas is. I got lost. Dec 17, 2016 at 15:52
  • These are all set phrases (that do not change) in spoken English. If you want to find out about Internet etiquette, you can visit any chat room.
    – Mick
    Dec 17, 2016 at 16:08
  • These are not called introductory structures. They are styles of identifying oneself. I think also you meant the way of identifying yourself or introducing yourself that you found on the internet. Is that correct? If there is a TELEPHONE, they would be speaking. Yet you say: writing on a keyboard. Please clarify your question.
    – Lambie
    Dec 17, 2016 at 17:08
  • If you make a mistake or want to improve your post, you can click edit and make changes.
    – Em.
    Dec 17, 2016 at 20:43

1 Answer 1


You probably can substitute speak with chat with:

Good morning. Who am I chatting with?

But most chat software will allow you to enter a name before starting a chat, so this is odd because if you need to know, you should already know at least what the user is calling themselves. If you need further information to verify an account, you could say.

Good morning. For account verification purposes can I have your full name?

William: Who am I chatting with?

Tomas: This is Tomas. How do you do?

William: How do you do? Could I chat with ...

  • As a matter of fact, I was meaning about chatting with people I don't know at all, but your paragraphs are helpful. Thanks! Dec 17, 2016 at 23:40

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