How to Ask an Unknown Person: Who Are You?

One of the most intriguing and nerve-wracking experiences in life is approaching an unknown person and asking the question, "Who’re you?". Whether it be at a social event, in a professional setting, or simply encountering someone in public, the curiosity to learn more about a stranger can be overwhelming. However, the act of approaching someone and asking them about their identity can also be fraught with anxiety, especially if the situation is somewhat unfamiliar. Thankfully, there are a few tried and true methods that can help make the process of asking a stranger who they’re far less daunting. By following some simple guidelines, you can approach someone with confidence, maintain positive rapport and gain valuable new connections and insights into the world around you.

How Do You Ask Who Is This Formally?

When it comes to addressing someone in a formal setting, it’s important to use the appropriate language and tone. Asking “who is this?” may seem like a straightforward question, but it can come across as abrupt or impolite. Instead, there are several more polite ways to ask for someones name or identity.

One option is to start by introducing yourself. For example, “Hello, this is Jane Smith speaking. May I ask whos calling?”. This approach puts the focus on yourself rather than the other person, which can make the conversation feel more welcoming and respectful.

Another option is to use a more formal title to address the other person. For example, if youre speaking on the phone with someone and youre not sure who it is, you could say, “Excuse me, may I ask who Im speaking with, please?”. Using the word “please” shows that youre making a courteous request rather than demanding information.

If youre in a business setting, it’s also appropriate to ask for someones name and title. For example, in a meeting, you could say, “Im sorry, I didnt catch your name and title. Could you please introduce yourself?”. This approach shows that you value the other persons position and want to address them appropriately.

In some cases, you may need to ask for someones name or identity indirectly. For example, if youre at an event and you see someone you think you know but cant remember their name, you could say, “Im sorry, could you remind me where we met?”. This phrasing can help to jog the other persons memory and lead to a more comfortable conversation.

By using appropriate language and tone, you can create a positive and professional interaction that reflects well on both you and the other person.

When it comes to seeking information, sometimes it can be difficult to know the right way to ask. You don’t want to come across as demanding or rude, but you also want to make sure your question is answered. Luckily, there are a few polite English phrases you can use to ask for information without causing offense. Here are five to keep in mind.

How Do You Politely Ask for Information?

Asking for information is a common social interaction, but it can sometimes feel awkward or uncomfortable. It’s essential to use polite language when asking for information to show respect for the person you’re speaking with. One common phrase is “Can you tell me…?”. This straightforward question is polite and direct, and it’s often used when you need precise and straightforward information.

Another polite way to ask for information is by using “Could you tell me…?”. Adding the word “could” makes the request more polite than using “can” and shows that you’re making a request rather than a command. This phrase is great for asking for information from someone who might be in a position of authority or someone who you don’t know very well.

If you’re looking for general information, you can use “Can anyone tell me..?” or “Could anyone tell me…?”. These phrases acknowledge that you’re asking the question to a group of people, and you’re open to receiving an answer from anyone willing to share their knowledge. These phrases are great for requesting information in scenarios such as a classroom, a meeting, or a group setting.

“Do you know…?” is another polite way of asking for information. This phrase is useful when you assume that the person you ask might have the information you need. Using this phrase can make the person you’re speaking with feel knowledgeable and respected.

This phrase is appropriate when asking if someone knows the answers to a question or if they’ve any suggestions or insights. It’s especially useful when asking for an open-ended response.

Source: 5 English Phrases for Asking for Information


In conclusion, approaching an unknown person and asking them who they’re can be a tricky situation. However, it’s always important to remember to be respectful, mindful of social cues, and open to new experiences. Whether you’re at a networking event, social gathering, or simply passing by someone on the street, taking the time to introduce yourself and learn more about someone else can lead to unexpected connections and meaningful relationships. So, the next time you find yourself questioning how to ask an unknown person who they are, remember to approach the situation with curiosity, kindness, and an open mind. You never know where the conversation may lead.