Background: I had spoken to Person A on the phone, and he caught me up with the happenings of Person B.

Is it correct to tell Person B that "he [Person A] made me abreast of what was going on with you [Person B]"?

If not, what's a better choice? I don't want to say "informed" me, as that is too formal sounding.

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    It's correct, as another example (from Googling!), It further made her abreast of the end consumer's need.. However, I prefer to use another choice, such as : 'I assure you, Mr Swan,' he said eventually, 'that I made him aware of the conflict of interest we may face if you and/or Miss Banner are charged. – Eilia Aug 16 '15 at 15:41
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    It's idiomatically at the very least unusual phrasing - normally we say to put him abreast (of the current state of some changing situation). That version gets 17 hits on Google Books, whereas to make him abreast gets none at all. Informal alternatives (apart from the screamingly obvious He told me about it) include He filled me in on the current situation. – FumbleFingers Aug 16 '15 at 16:53
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    'kept me abreast' is actually a little more formal than 'informed'. – Mitch Aug 16 '15 at 21:44
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    I think "bring abreast" would be more idiomatic than "make abreast". – Hot Licks Aug 16 '15 at 22:39
  • apprised, was informal not requisite here. – stevesliva Aug 17 '15 at 5:27

Some time spent with the google, including the Ngram viewer, finds that "made abreast" is a rare locution. It is idiomatic to say "brought me abreast" or "kept me abreast." The former is mostly used for physical proximity; the latter, to mean "kept informed."

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  • Quite a satisfactory answer and kudos on "locution". – Yeshe Aug 16 '15 at 17:20

One more option for a replacement phrasing is "(bring) up to speed":

Jim brought me up to speed about what's going on with you.

From freedictionary.com:

  1. up to speed on someone or something Fig. fully apprised about someone or something; up-to-date on the state of someone or something. *(Typically: be ~; bring someone ~; get ~; get someone ~.)

    "Please bring me up to speed on this matter."
    "I'll feel better about it when I get up to speed on what's going on."

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You say that you don't want to be too formal but any sentence with 'abreast of' sounds formal (and a little dated) to me.

My suggestion,

I spoke to A on the phone, and he brought me up to date with the happenings of B.


I spoke to A on the phone, and he updated me on the happenings of B.

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It's technically correct, without being exactly colloquial and just generally, 'abreast' used like that can lend itself to some puns on mammary lines.

Also, 'abreast' is a word that relates to news, current events and professional matters (eg the latest orthodontic techniques), rather more than say, personal matters. 'Abreast' suggests that the events concerning Person B are in the public arena, in the Kardashian sense.

It would be safer to say "he brought me up to date", "he let me know" or even "he updated me" - depends on how sensitive the information is.

If you are talking to a third person, not person B, you have rather more colourful options to use, such as "marked my card" or "had a word in my ear" (you will even hear, "had a word in my shell-like" (= ear). These are a bit gossipy.

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  • Puns? You mean like the secretary who was suspected of enhancing her profile with paper products -- she was "keeping a breast of the Times". (Nah, nothing as bad as that!) – Hot Licks Aug 16 '15 at 18:53

I think you normally "keep abreast" rather than "make abreast" so you could say:

I have been kept abreast of what B is doing.

(However that suggests an ongoing interest in B).

Or for a one-time phone call:

I have spoken to A, who has been keeping me abreast of what B was doing.

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