My teachers and my friends call me Kitty in school, while my colleagues and my boss call me Kay in the office. My friends and my colleagues have called me different names, but I have never told them which I preferred.

Now I am going to learn how to swim, which means I will meet some new people in the swimming lessons. I wonder how to introduce myself to the new teacher because I have two different names.

Should I say this?

You can call me Kitty or Kay

And then in the full name row of the registration form, should I write "Kitty Kay myFamilyName" or just "Kitty myFamilyName"?

  • Is your actual name "Kitty Kay myFamilyName", or is one or both of them a nickname?
    – Dan Getz
    Jan 10, 2015 at 13:44
  • 1
    In the registration form I'm pretty sure nicknames aren't good things to be written at all. And in informal speech with your new mates, I think you should offer them call you by only one of your nicknames.
    – M.A.R.
    Jan 10, 2015 at 14:28
  • 5
    In any formal documentation you must use the exact name as on your birth certificate or later modified by marriage, deed-poll or other legal change. After that, you can call yourself whatever you like - you make the call, pick one, tell people. Jan 10, 2015 at 14:52

1 Answer 1


Basically, you can have people call you whatever name you want.

If you introduce yourself, you can either

  • state your legal name, followed by how you want to be called
    (appropriate for semi-formal settings, like starting a new job)

    "My name is FirstName LastName, but you can call me NickName."

  • in informal settings, just give your nickname:

    "Hi, I'm NickName!"

On any formal documentation you should use your legal name and omit the nickname. You can always ask the instructor to call you NickName.

If you have a middle name, it's up to you if you want to use it (or, in the US, use the initial). Some people will find think weird to be given a looong list of names for a plain introduction - remember that some people have many first names...

Once you have reached a certain age, you might even want to introduce yourself by your last name only, depending a bit on the culture you live in:

"Hi, I'm Ms (or Mrs.) LastName!".

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