my name is vs I am

marcbatco

Senior Member
Italian-Italy
Hi, I would please ask you which of the expressions in bold is correct in the following (it is a formal letter):
Dear Mr/Ms X,
my name is Y, and I am John Button's nephew, who (has) provided me with your contact details.
Dear Mr/Ms X,
I am Y, John Button's nephew, who (has) provided me with your contact details.
 
  • GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Both are grammatically correct, but neither is a good choice. The recipient of the letter will see your name in the return address on the envelope, and in the signature at the bottom of the page. Why, then, do you need to say it here at all? Frankly, it makes the letter sound a little juvenile, because schoolchildren often start letters this way (as in "Dear President Washington, My name is Sarah and I am eight years old.") It would be better if you said something like "Your business associate John Button is my uncle, and he has suggested that I write to you", or "I am the nephew of your neighbor, John Button, and he provided me with your name and address."
     

    marcbatco

    Senior Member
    Italian-Italy
    Both are grammatically correct, but neither is a good choice. The recipient of the letter will see your name in the return address on the envelope, and in the signature at the bottom of the page. Why, then, do you need to say it here at all? Frankly, it makes the letter sound a little juvenile, because schoolchildren often start letters this way (as in "Dear President Washington, My name is Sarah and I am eight years old.") It would be better if you said something like "Your business associate John Button is my uncle, and he has suggested that I write to you", or "I am the nephew of your neighbor, John Button, and he provided me with your name and address."
    Hi GreenWhiteBlue, and thank you for your suggestions. And what you suggest is still valid even if it is an email and you write to him for the first time, isn't? Do you mean:
    Dear Mr/Ms X,
    I am the nephew of John Button (or John Button's nephew), and he provided me with your name and (email?) address.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    I must confess that I work for an organization that is so very old-fashioned that we tend to avoid using emails at all, even when people send them to us; instead, we reply when possible with letters printed on stationery and mailed out in envelopes. I am therefore perhaps not the best person to ask about this. Having said that, though, I would still say that if your business email address is something adult and sensible, fashioned around your name (as opposed to something like "pinkpussycat@gmail", or "gagafan123@aol"), and you have a full signature block at the end of the email, there is still no need to start with the childish "My name is ____". The nature of the relationship of Uncle John Button to the person who is receiving this email like a thunderbolt that comes out of a clear blue sky (also known in English as a "bolt from the blue") should also be noted or acknowledged.
     

    marcbatco

    Senior Member
    Italian-Italy
    I must confess that I work for an organization that is so very old-fashioned that we tend to avoid using emails at all, even when people send them to us; instead, we reply when possible with letters printed on stationery and mailed out in envelopes. I am therefore perhaps not the best person to ask about this. Having said that, though, I would still say that if your business email address is something adult and sensible, fashioned around your name (as opposed to something like "pinkpussycat@gmail", or "gagafan123@aol"), and you have a full signature block at the end of the email, there is still no need to start with the childish "My name is ____". The nature of the relationship of Uncle John Button to the person who is receiving this email like a thunderbolt that comes out of a clear blue sky (also known in English as a "bolt from the blue") should also be noted or acknowledged.
    Thank you, GreenWhiteBlue, for your explanations. And, if you do not specify the relationship of Uncle John Button to the person, which form is grammatically correct: I am the nephew of John Button (or John Button's nephew), (and he)/who provided me with your name and email address.
     
    Last edited:

    marcbatco

    Senior Member
    Italian-Italy
    Both are grammatically correct but John Button's nephew is more natural.
    Thank you, szymbert. However, if you use John Button's nephew, then can you use who provided me with ... or can it be misleading (since the last term that you mention is nephew and not John Button)?
     
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