That Tricky Spanish Verb Llamarse

That Tricky Spanish Verb Llamarse

Remember when you were first learning Spanish (which perhaps was not that many days ago) and the verb llamarse came along and tripped a couple question mark lights in your learning brain? Maybe the teacher told you not to worry about how the verb worked quite yet because of it being a “reflexive verb.” Perhaps it was confusing to keep up with there being two words to the verb and remembering which ones to use with which. You’re not alone and hopefully this post will demystify the different ways to introduce yourself in Spanish.

Learn Spanish (Blog Banner)The verb llamarse literally means “to call one’s self” which likely explains the source of the confusion. Spanish speakers feel just as comfortable and natural using the phrase “Me llamo Maribel” which translates to “I call myself Maribel” as they do using the phrase “Mi nombre es Maribel”, which translates to “My name is Maribel.” To an English speaker, using the phrase “I call myself…” sounds awkward and unusually phrased at best; they understand this sentence but almost never phrase an introduction this way. As an English speaker, you may value understanding the inherent meaning behind the verb llamarse in that it helps you embrace forming a sentence a little differently. However, the best way to be comfortable with a new Spanish phrase that doesn’t make complete sense in English is to hear and say the phrase correctly so many times that it finally “feels” and sounds right without stressing over the literal translated meaning.

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Llamarse = to call one’s self

*Note: the words in parenthesis are personal subject pronouns and are optional to include with this verb. The words directly following the parenthesis are reflexive pronouns, and the next word is the verb conjugation.

(Yo) Me llamo

literally “I call myself…”

(Nosotros) Nos llamamos

 literally “We call ourselves…”

(Tú) Te llamas

literally “You call yourself…” (informal)

(Vosotros) Os llamáis

literally “You all call yourselves…” (Spain)


(Él / Ella / Usted) Se llama

literally “He calls himself…”


literally “She calls herself…”


literally “You call yourself…” (formal)

(Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes) Se llaman…

literally “They call themselves…”


literally “You all call yourselves…” (Lat. Amer.)



If you haven’t learned how to conjugate verbs and the regular Spanish verb conjugations yet (such as Spanish verbs ending in ER), let alone reflexive verbs. This one might feel a little mysterious and that’s a-okay. The most important thing to keep in mind is that these two formulas for introductions communicate the same thing and are both natural and commonly used, but they come as is.

Spanish verbs

Spanish Introductions Using “Llamarse”

When introducing yourself in Spanish, keep in mind your audience. Are you speaking to someone significantly older than you or in a position of authority over you? If so, use the formal phrase “¿Cómo se llama (usted)?” when asking for their name, keeping in mind that “usted” is an optional word, but helps emphasize that you are treating them formally if you include it.



¿Cómo te llamas?

(informal and literally “How do you call yourself?”)

Me llamo Laura.

(literally “I call myself Laura.”)


Mi nombre es Laura.

(literally “My name is Laura.”)


Yo soy Laura.

(literally “I am Laura.”)

¿Cómo se llama (usted)?

(formal and literally “How do you call yourself?”)

Me llamo Señora López.

(literally “I call myself Mrs. López.”)


Mi nombre es Sra. López.

(literally “My name is Mrs. López.”)


Yo soy Sra. López.

(literally “I am Mrs. López.”)


Notice from the alternate answers in the chart that you can answer the question “¿Cómo te llamas?” without even using the verb llamarse! While it is good to know how to respond using llamarse, if you blank out or it comes more naturally in the moment to use another response, you will be communicating the same thing and sound smooth.

Canva Design DAFSUqPizSwThere is plenty more to talk about when it comes to greetings and introductions in Spanish. If you would like to learn more common Spanish phrases and Spanish verbs to use when meeting someone, check out our free learning content here for some help in polishing up your first impression with greetings. If you’d like to dig deeper and begin practicing with a real teacher, you can meet our language teachers here by browsing their profiles and reaching out to get started with lessons that work for you.

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