Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I saw some expression like the following : "I met a design problem in .... ", is it a right usage of the word "meet". It just sounds odd to me. I would rather use "ran into" or "encountered" instead. Any advice ?

share|improve this question

4 Answers 4

Met a problem is a right usage of meet:

Meet:
1. to come upon; come into the presence of; encounter: I would meet him on the street at unexpected moments.

That said, encountered a problem or ran into a problem would be more common. Meet simply sounds more reciprocal, where the other two choices only connote activity on your part. Ngrams shows the following:

share|improve this answer
    
+1 because nothing you say is untrue. Until you pointed it out I never consciously registered the fact that meeting is normally reciprocal. But don't forget that encounter and run into are also used with exactly the same implied reciprocity when the "object" of the verb is another person. –  FumbleFingers Dec 21 '11 at 4:21
    
Emphatic +1 for the use of ngrams. Good answer! –  Andrew Dec 21 '11 at 4:22
    
Nice answer. Not only did I meet a problem, but the problem met me. –  slim Dec 22 '11 at 13:08

It is certainly correct to use meet a problem to mean to experience a problem.

share|improve this answer

Yes,

I met a problem

sounds a little odd but is perfectly fine. It's metaphorical, an example of personification.

So now you have three choices with different stylistic connotations: - 'met' for metaphorical - 'encountered' is more formal - 'ran in to' is informal (and slightly metaphorical, you problem didn't make physical contact)

share|improve this answer

"I met a design problem in .... ":
substituting
"ran into" or "encountered"
does not make a difference, at least to me, in the meaning conveyed or in sentence construction.

Agreed, the use of meet in such a context may be relatively rare, making it appear out of place. It is not due to a grammatical error. In that sense, it is certainly odd, though not wrong.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

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