When I want someone to call me by a certain name or title (e.g. "A"), which should I use, "Bitte heißen mir A." or "Bitte heißen mich A."?

Can also you provide some other ways to make such a suggestion?

Edit: To clarify a bit, when using this, my real name/title can be A but I wish to be called B, which can be an alias, nickname or otherwise.


4 Answers 4


The verb heißen is a copula, i.e. it belongs to the same group of verbs like sein (to be), werden (to become) and bleiben (to stay). There is no English translation for heißen that also is a copula. In other words: There is no direct English counterpart for heißen.


de: Mein Name ist Michael.
en: My name is Michael.

de: Freunde nennen mich Barbara.
en: Friends call me Barbara.

de: Ich bin Alex.
en: I am Alex.

de: Ich heiße Günther.
(no direct English translation)

Think of heißen like a form of sein (to be) that only can be used with names (i.e. I am Günther for the last example). This is correct only on a grammatical level. The meaning is slightly different:

  • Ich bin Sabine.
    Meaning: Sabine is a person, and this person is me.
  • Ich heiße Sabine.
    Meaning: Sabine is a name, and this name belongs to me.

But as I can read from your question you want a translation for

en: Please call me John.

And there is a direct German translation. It is in the list above:

de (Du): Bitte nenne mich John.
de (Sie): Bitte nennen Sie mich John.

You could also use a title instead of a name, but be careful: I most situations this looks arrogant and condescending:

de (Du): Bitte nenne mich Professor.
de (Sie): Bitte nennen Sie mich Professor.

If you just want to say your name (including title or academic degree) you can use the verb heißen, which is the recommended way in German:

Ich heiße Lisa Müller.
Ich heiße Doktor Schneider.

  • The OP want to be called "by a certain name or title" so the person who calls the OP has choices to choose of and the OP want to ask him to choose one specific. Because of that, "Bitte nenne mich Maria" or "Bitte nennen Sie mich Frau Müller" is a good way to do so. It suits for more informal ways and for more formal ways than before (For example "Friends call me Maria/Please call me Maria" and "At work still Mrs. Müller please/Please call me Mrs. Müller at work") Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 7:27
  • 2
    In my opinion Ich heiße Doktor Schneider is a (frequent but) awkward expression. There is a difference between heißen and angesprochen werden als. The person heißt Schneider, but is politely to be addressed (wird angesprochen als) Doktor Schneider. This difference is even more visible in sentences like Hallo, ich heiße Frau Maier (often used by people from not so educated backgrounds), which triggers a reflex to answer Nein, Sie heißen nicht Frau Maier, Sie heißen Erna Maier. Correctly Mrs Maier could say: Nennen Sie mich Frau Maier. Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 9:12
  • I agree with Christian here, Sie sind Frau Meier und heißen Erna Maier. Sie sind Doktor Müller aber heißen Verena Müller. Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 13:03
  • 3
    Good answer. Just to add some confusion on top, I would like to add, that in a rather old-fashioned way, heißen could be used with a dative object, too, and has a different meaning then (the meaning of to call or to tell): Er hieß mich einen Idioten, und ich hieß ihn, es zu unterlassen, mich zu beleidigen.
    – Jonathan Herrera
    Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 13:53
  • 1
    @ChristianGeiselmann: Zumindest in Österreich sind akademische Grade und Standesbezeichnungen (z.B. Doktor, Ingenieur) laut Personenstandsgesetz Beifügungen zum Namen, haben also einen völlig anderen Status als Anreden (Herr/Frau). Auch grammatisch gibt es einen Unterschied, anders wären Fügungen wie »Sehr geehrte Frau Dr. Meier« nicht möglich. Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 14:18

"Bitte heißen mir A." or "Bitte heißen mich A."? Both versions are wrong!

You could say:

  • „Sagen Sie bitte A. zu mir”

  • „Bitte nennen Sie mich A.“

These are the closest versions using your terms.

Other possibilities would be:

  • „Nennen Sie mich bitte A.“
  • „Ich bin A. für Sie.“

More jovial - simply:

  • „Ich bin A. - einfach A!

or by your first name:

  • „Ich bin (einfach) der A.“ (in the sense of „Sag einfach Du zu mir.“

In this case we also say:

  • „Ich bin nur der A.“

Then we shake hands and say:

  • „A! Nur A!“ („A! My name is A!“)

If you want to protest and intend to be called in the courtesy form:

  • „Für Sie/Dich bin ich (immer noch) Herr/Frau A! Bitte!“
  • 1
    Ich bin mit dir einverstanden. Sie hiessen ihn ... (nannten = veraltet) Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 6:34
  • Note that adding an article in front of the name i.e. Ich bin der Peter is a regional dialect (Hessian for example). Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 13:05

As a sidenote addition to the other answers here:

Heißen the way you are using it in your example (as a transitive verb) is in use only in some German dialects, e.g. Swabian (South West Germany). There you could say

Kaasch me ruig Ede hoißa

which would be in standard spelling (but inappropriate wording) Du kannst mich ruhig Ede heißen, and in proper (standard) German Du kannst mich ruhig Ede nennen (Ede here instead of Eduard which would be the full name).

Also you could find it in some higher registers of speech like for example in some narrative literature especially from the past, e.g.

Jemanden einen Idioten heißen

which is equivalent to Jemanden einen Idioten nennen.


Both are wrong. If you want to use "heißen", you can use "Ich heiße A. (title and name)", but it doesn't imply that you want to be called that way, unless you repeat it after the introduction.

You can say "bitte nennen Sie mich A." (not mir), but it would still be strange.

Better "Bitte reden Sie mich mit A. an" or "Bitte reden Sie mich an mit A."

I used "Sie" in all examples because it is not usual to demand being called with a title, so it certainly is not familiar.

On the other hand, to have a friend call you by a nickname, you can say "Nenn(e) mich A."

  • 4
    „Bitte nennen sie mich...“ ist m.E. völlig in Ordnung, „reden sie mich mit A an“ klingt in meinen Ohren gestelzt und in der Version „reden sie mich an mit A“ ist zusätzlich die Satzstellung nicht idiomatisch.
    – Stephie
    Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 5:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.