My native english speaker boyfriend used the phrase:

"I've been visiting with a friend"

to express a friend of his was visiting him, but I've never heard of this kind of use for present perfect continuous + the preposition with used as a passive voice (actually I was taught with isn't used as passive voice) in a sentence, kinda confuses me, because it doesn't goes according to what I've been taught of English.

  • 1
    Where is the "passive" part of this sentence? This is an active construction. May 17, 2018 at 20:14
  • The above is perfectly legit and idiomatic.
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 17, 2018 at 22:24
  • 1
    "visiting with" means "conversing with"; there's no inversion of thematic roles (it's not a passivization strategy), and it doesn't imply that one person actually visited the other. you can "visit with" someone over the phone.
    – user31341
    Aug 16, 2018 at 23:04

4 Answers 4


The idiomatic use of the word "with" in "visit with" has changed the verb from a transitive to an instransitive, thus also restricting it's meaning to "socialize with," or "go and socialize with." It is not strictly speaking functioning just as a preposition, but part of the idiom of what goes with the verb visit, as well as some other verbs. In this sense, "with" doesn't always adhere to usual grammatical prepositional use, since it is really part of the verbal idiom.

Visiting with/ Talking with/ Eating with/ Drinking with/ Dancing with/ Going with/

All of these are taking the preposition "with" but as part of an idiomatic form of meaning, here also typically intransitive. Contrast this to a different use of "with" where it is not an integral part of the verbal idiom. "The girl ate her ice cream with great gusto." This with is not part of the verbal idiom ate as ate took the direct object , and with explains in what manner she ate the ice cream. I hope this helps explains the difference.

  • So if I'm at my apartment alone and my boyfriend visits me is correct to say: I've been visiting with my boyfriend? To express my boyfriend is visiting me. May 17, 2018 at 5:25
  • Adriana, "visiting with" is a slightly old-fashioned expression. Nowadays we would usually leave out the "with". But both "visiting" and "visiting with" would normally be understood to mean you (the visitor) went to the person being visited. If your boyfriend had come to your apartment, you would normally say "My boyfriend visited me" (or "...with me.")
    – tautophile
    May 17, 2018 at 6:02
  • 2
    @tautophile And 'visit with', meaning to meet, or talk to, is a uniquely American collocation. In Britain we don't (nor ever did) 'visit with', unless there is an ablative case, indirect object e.g. John will visit (us) with Mary. It is also used in the sense of 'visiting upon'. 'Every time we see him we are visited with misfortune'.
    – WS2
    May 17, 2018 at 6:29
  • @WS2 Not true, Ws2. You used to. Confirmed by OED. I will write it up tomorrow.
    – Xanne
    May 17, 2018 at 8:46
  • 1
    @steviesteele In Britain if I said "I have been visiting with John", it would mean that John and I had been to visit some third parties.
    – WS2
    May 18, 2018 at 13:24

I had to read though everything twice before I had a clue what the issue was. Some people find the colocation "visiting with" strange????

Visiting with and visiting have different usages.

"Where are you going on vacation?". "I'm visiting my parents." "Doesn't sound like much of a vacation." "We need to visit with the family lawyer about uncle Ned's will."

The first means going to them and staying with them. The second says that you are conducting business or discussing something, usually something important. You could use meet with (I assume everyone can use meet with?) instead, but that doesn't imply the same amount of formality, seriousness, or protracted duration.

To me, they two are distinctly separate verbs in the same way "counting" and "counting on" are separate verbs. Perhaps not quite as different as those two, but I can't think of a sentence where I can interchange the two.

So yes, you can be visiting with a friend who came to visit. Or you can be visiting with a friend you went to visit. Visiting with isn't locative, it tends to be used as an explanation or justification. I flew to Chicago in order to visit with clients.


"I've been visiting with a friend" means that I have been talking to a friend. The conversation may have taken place on the phone. On the other hand, "I've been visiting a friend" suggests staying with the friend.

If I have a guest--a friend--staying at my house, it would be correct to say "A friend is visiting me." The present continuous tense implies that the friend is still at my house.

If you're at your apartment alone and your boyfriend visits you, it's correct to say "My boyfriend is visiting me." It's not correct to say "I've been visiting with my boyfriend" unless you are telling someone else that you've been chatting with or talking with him.

  • 3
    Is that an American usage? I've never (as a British speaker) used, or heard anyone else use, 'visit' to mean anything other than going to someone's home, workplace or place of temporary residence ("I've been visiting my friend in hospital") in order to be with them. I certainly wouldn't "visit" them by phone or Skype. I also wouldn't "visit" them in the street or a bar (unless they spent more time in that particular bar than anywhere else including their home!)
    – BoldBen
    May 17, 2018 at 8:09
  • @BoldBen I'm surprised, and now wondering whether this use of "to visit with" as "to have a conversation with" is AmE or even a Midwest regionalism. But this, from a 2002 book: "Visiting with him was even harder because his voice was softer, more muffied." I will look into it more. (resending because I forgot to notify you)
    – Xanne
    May 17, 2018 at 8:50
  • 1
    The OED has clarified a transitive vs. intransitive use of "visit;" in the intransitive, usually with the word 'with,' it is now mainly North American, from mid-19th century. Like many of our expressions in the US, these may have once been used on both sides of the Atlantic, but as British English develops and changes, American English can sometimes retain colonial usage, as may be similar here.
    – user298431
    May 17, 2018 at 17:28
  • 1
    I'm American and I don't think I've ever heard this use of "visiting with".
    – Barmar
    May 21, 2018 at 20:04
  • I'm told this is a regional midwestern USA regional use. I live in the midwest but grew up in the northeast (US). It is far more prevalent in the midwestern United States than the northeast. I have heard it used here commonly enough over the last 25 years of living here.
    – user298431
    May 22, 2018 at 5:57

This is (uneducated?) US usage. Was astounded as a Brit when I first met it on moving to the US in 1968. In British English it is omitted, but the meaning is the same.

Difficult to track its origin by ngram as the juxtaposition of "visit" and "with" can occur in other contexts. Use of such superfluous prepositions in US usage supposedly have been influenced by German immigrants, but I'm not sure whether this is true or not.

  • Not uneducated, just dialectical.
    – user184130
    Jun 17, 2018 at 16:22

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