Learn English – “May I know your good name?”


"May I know your good name” is a typically Indian way of honouring another person by asking their name using an adjective like sweet, good, beautiful, et cetera. Of course there won’t ever be any bad or sour name (unless we feel it such) when asking.

If this manner of asking someone’s name is incorrect or inappropriate, then how could I make it sound more polite and amicable without negotiating the basic principles of English?

Best Answer

As @tchrist noted in a comment, may I know your good name? sounds overly old fashioned to a native English speaker.

When you're encountering a stranger, a common way to get someone's name is to provide yours first, especially after conversation has already been initiated. This conversation usually goes something like:

Aaron: I don't think I know your name. Mine is Aaron.

John: [My name is] John. It's nice to meet you.

Aaron: Nice to meet you, too.

And then two would shake hands. Generally speaking, it would be rude for John (in this example) to not respond by providing his name.