Below is a Q and A from an English textbook.
Q: What do people call you?
A: Everyone calls me Beth.
Someone asked me if one can answer "They call me Beth" instead.
That answer (in a conversation) would sound unnatural to me. But then I couldn't explain why because I'm not a native English speaker.
"They call me Beth" would be understood, but would not be the most natural response to such a question. More natural, conversational answers would be:
"My friends call me Beth."
"Everyone calls me Beth."
"I go by Beth."
"Please call me Beth."
"They call me..." gives the impression that it refers to a name that the person is not fond of or doesn't regularly use....for example, Michael Jackson might have said "They call me 'Wacko Jacko' but I prefer 'Michael'." When my youngest brother first joined the Air Force ROTC, his superiors apparently decided that his actual surname was too difficult to pronounce, so they dubbed him "Adams." As he advanced through the ranks, "Adams" remained his moniker, despite the fact that his nameplate bore his real surname "Adamczak." He occasionally had to explain the discrepancy when talking to reporters or contractors or other non-military personnel who were confused by the difference in his spoken name and written name. He'd have to explain "They call me 'Adams,' but my real name is 'Adamczak.'"
To simplify matters completely, I suggest the following:
- What do people call you?
However, I realise that doesn't answer your original query. My answer would be that "They call me Beth" is a perfectly acceptable answer to the rather vague question "What do people call you?"
Last edited by emsr2d2; 26-May-2011 at 22:26. Reason: Typo
Thank you for all the comments. They're very helpful.
Call me Beth. Call me irresponsible. Just don't call me late for dinner.