Present or Introduce: Which Should You Use?

The mistake of using "present" instead of "introduce" is made by some people in the business settings, where we make the acquaintance of new people all the time.

"May I present you," is an old expression that isn’t heard very much. The use of "present" instead of "introduce" itself is not wrong, just less usual and it's acceptable.

Let’s see how you can start using these two words correctly without confusing them.

Present: 👉 means to formally give an award or a gift.

Exception: In an old expression, THE WORD “present” is preferable on formal occasions to the word “introduce.” To be grammatically correct using this word, you must use it as will be shown below. Be careful not to use the verb “to present” in place of pronoun. E.g., “May I present to you Mr. X.” Wrong


“Mrs. Balogun, may I present Mr. Obi?” or, “Mr. Distinguished, may I present Mr. Eliphew?”

The younger person is always presented to the older or more distinguished, but a gentleman is always presented to a lady, even though he is an old gentleman of great distinction and the lady a mere slip of a girl.

“Mr. Philip, may I present my wife, Ranti?”

“Mr. President, I have the honour to present Mrs. Lawal, of Stayco Company.”

Introduce: 👉 means to make one person known to another person.

Let’s look at a few examples below to help define the differences.

"Ira is going to introduce me to the CEO of the company," and NOT "Ira is going to present me to the CEO of the company."

"I introduced myself to Fixson Head of HR at the corporate event today" and NOT "I presented myself to Fixson Head of HR at the corporate event today."

“I’ve been trying to connect with your boss, but it feels impossible. Do you have a close relationship with him?”

“Yes, I do. I will introduce you," and NOT “Yes, I do. I will present you.”

So, basically, can you use the word “present?” My answer to that question is  clear, “yes.” For example, if you say, “May I present XXX,” is not incorrect or usual.  And I suggest, you use it in informal and formal occasions correctly.  E.g., “May I present my wife, Ranti Bello?” 


“Our Manager will finally be presented with the award of the Most Effective Manager this year.”

“IABN will present my company with the Best Practices Award of Excellence this year.”

Start from today to speak English confidently in business settings.

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Love & more success. 💗

Your friend and Coach,

~ Damilola Ogunremi. 

Photo credit: from Pexels 

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