2

Alexandra, let me introduce you. This is my wife Marilyn.

What does the first sentence mean?

Let me introduce you to my wife Marilyn.

or

Let me introduce my wife Marilyn to you.

or

They are both implied in the original sentence?

2

Actually, I think that's it's Marilyn who is being introduced to Alexandra in the original example sentence.

In order to illustrate, I need to set up a somewhat contrived context.

Let's assume that you are led by a police officer into a room where you stand behind a one-way mirror. Behind the mirror is a suspect sitting in a chair. Let's also say that your name is Mary and the suspect is Jessica.

The police officer says to you, "Mary, I'd like to introduce you to Jessica. We brought her in yesterday."

Because Jessica is not aware of any of this dialogue, she is not being given an introduction to anyone.

The recipient of the introduction is Mary, but the object of the introduction is Jessica.

Based on this, and returning to your original question, the most applicable sentence between the two you provided is:

Let me introduce you to my wife Marilyn.

Here, the same thing is occurring as in the police station example.

It's likely that Marilyn is present for this dialogue, but it's also possible that she isn't. Let's say that this sentence is said to Alexandra while she is standing on one side of a crowded room and Marilyn is on the other side.

By having said the first sentence, Marilyn has been pointed out and Alexandra has now been "introduced" to her, even though not in person.

Following this, the second sentence could now be said:

Let me introduce my wife Marilyn to you.

After which, Alexandra is led over to Marilyn—at which point Marilyn becomes the recipient of a second introduction, one in which Alexandra is now the object.


There are some issues with this because the grammar, on its own, can be ambiguous. In the second sentence, who is the recipient of the introduction and who is the object? Depending on interpretation, it could be either. (I simply interpreted it in one possible way.)

Also, in more normal circumstances, both people are aware of each other and the conversation at the same time. So, in that sense, it doesn't really matter: the introduction is "mutual."

Note that physical proximity also doesn't matter. If I lead somebody into a room by the hand, and then shout out, "Everybody, I'd like to introduce you to my friend!" my friend is the object of the introduction and "everybody" is the recipient of the introduction (whom I'm addressing).

But, ultimately, ask whom you're speaking to and whom you're talking about.

0

Alexandra, let me introduce you. This is my wife Marilyn.

The way this sentence begins hints that you want to introduce Alexandra to someone or a group.

Let me introduce you to my wife, Marilyn.

This would be the best way to introduce your wife.

  • Your example confuses me a lot. I think when I say "Introduce A to B", A is being introduced, right? How comes you example be the best way to introduce B??? – preachers Jul 10 '18 at 12:43
  • @preachers It's a bit of a pedantic point, because generally if you introduce A to B, you're simultaneously introducing B to A. Even if B knows who A is, B won't personally know A if A doesn't know B. – Jim MacKenzie Jul 10 '18 at 13:08

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