Referrals are something that happens to all of us at one point or another. Perhaps sometimes we’re the ones being referred, and at other times, we’re referring other people. But either way, it’s important to know how to phrase the situation so that everyone knows what you’re talking about, and nobody is left confused.
Today, we’ll discuss the correct way to talk about a referral.
“I Was Referred To You By…”: Here’s The Correct Way To State A Reference
When someone (Y) tells you to go to someone else (X), you say “I was referred to X by Y”. This would be if you’re speaking to someone who works for X.
If you’re speaking to X himself, you would say “I was referred to you by Y”.
I was referred to X by Y
Let’s start by talking about the first example, here, when someone refers you to someone else, and you’re not speaking directly to the person you’ve been referred to.
By saying “I was referred to X by Y”, you’re making two things clear. The first thing is who you’re here to see, and the second one is who sent you.
Let’s say, my doctor tells me to go to a foot specialist. In that case, when I speak to the receptionist, I would say “I was referred to Dr Smith (the foot doctor) by Dr Jones (My doctor).
This interaction requires four people: me, my doctor, the foot doctor, and the receptionist.
Situations to use “I was referred to X by Y”
There are plenty of situations in life when we need to tell some third party who we’ve been referred to and who has referred us.
We’ve already looked at one example, the Doctor.
But, when at work, if you go to see someone at another company, you may have to tell someone who you’ve been sent by, and who you’re here to see. This will help you to get the help you need.
If you need a specialist plumber, your general plumber might refer you to someone who works for a company with lots of other specialist plumbers.
5 examples of “I was referred to X by Y”
“Hello. I was referred to Dr Smith by Dr Jones. It’s for my foot”
“I was referred to Bradley from accounts by James at Smith and Co. I believe we have a meeting scheduled
“I was referred to James Smith ID 1234 by Marcus from Portsmouth Plumbers”
“I was referred to Dr Singh by Dr Rachel. I think he’ll be operating on me”
“I was referred to the CEO of Ashmolean Industries by James Walker of ICY technologies”.
I was referred to you by X
There are other times however, when you don’t have to speak to a receptionist or any other kind of middle man. And you’re speaking directly to the person you were referred to.
When this happens, all you have to say is “I was referred to you by Y”. You can say this phrase to a receptionist, but only when the “Y” in question is the company they work for, and not a specific person.
Usually, but not always, “I was referred to X by Y” is for when you WANT service. But “I was referred to you by Y” is for when you’re GIVING something.
Situations to use “I was referred to you by X”
Now, just as there are situations where you may have to speak to a middle man, there are also some situations where you will need to speak directly to the person you’ve been referred to.
For example, if you’re at a company who your boss has referred you to, you might say directly to the boss “I have been referred to you by my boss”.
If you’re a tradesman, and someone with authority has referred you directly to a customer, you might say to them “I have been referred to you by the higher authority”.
And when you’re job searching, your trainer might refer you to a company. On your cover letter, you should write “I have been referred to you by my trainer”.
5 examples of “I was referred to you by X”
“Hi there! I’ve been referred to you by Mark Smith at PT Plants”
“Good morning sir. We’ve been referred to you by Wolverhampton city council”
“I have been referred to you by Mr Jones from the school of hustle and bustle”
“I’ve been referred to you by my boss Shelly. She manages another branch in Newcastle”
“Hello. I’ve been referred to you by Gordon Brown your plumber”
“I was referred to you by” synonyms
Of course, this is not the only way of saying that someone has sent you to someone else. But it does tend to be the most popular way in formal situations.
But, here are some alternatives for when you don’t need to be super professional.
- I’ve been sent to you by James Smith
- I’ve been sent to Alfie Jones by James Smith
- James Smith said that you wanted me
- James Smith said that Alfie Jones wanted me
- I believe James Smith has requested me
- According to Alfie Jones, James Smith requests me
- I’m here from Alfie Jones
- I’m here from Alfie Jones for James Smith.
What does “Refer” mean?
So far in this article, we’ve thrown around the word “referred” a lot. But what we haven’t done is establish what it actually means.
To be referred can either mean to be sent, or to be recommended. There are times when someone referring you means that you have to go there and you don’t get a choice. But there are other times when it’s more of a recommendation than an order.
According to Google and Oxford, “refer” has two definitions.
1. Mention or allude to
2. Pass a matter to (a higher body) for a decision
And there we have it! Now you know how to use “I was referred to you by” and “I was referred to… by”.
I know that some of this might not have been quite as simple as you may have liked, but hey, that’s how the English language works for you.
Next time someone refers you to someone else, you now know whether you should say “I was referred to you by my boss” or “I was referred to Mr X by my boss”.
If you’re confused, a rule of thumb (but not an absolute rule) is that “referred to you by” is when your GIVING service, but “I was referred to someone by” is for when you WANT service.
You may also like: “Referred To As” or “Referred As” – Correct Version
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.