I was writing an email to the principal of my former school, and I [came up with / had come across] a question: "Shall I write "Merry Christmas" or "Happy New Year" at the end of the letter?"

Which phrase should I use?

closed as off-topic by Janus Bahs Jacquet, Edwin Ashworth, tchrist, Drew, choster Dec 29 '14 at 6:49

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  • Could you tell me whether I should write "Merry Christmas" or "Happy New Year" in the letter please? I am so confused of the two festivals. – kitty Dec 27 '14 at 20:39

To come up with something means to create it or originate it. If you made up the question, this is the correct choice.

To come across something means to find something which already exists. If you did not make up the question, but instead found it elsewhere, this is the correct choice.

Either way, don't use the pluperfect had come across, just came across.

  • 'Come up with' can also have the 'discover' sense [AHDEL]. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 27 '14 at 20:26

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