I've been going over some English comprehension tests with my students and I've stumbled upon a sentence that's been bugging me.

(Jack / request / have) ______ a day off met with his employer’s refusal.

The answer sheet states that - "Jack’s request to have a day off met with his employer’s refusal". It's apparently the correct way to complete the sentence.

IMO if that's the way to complete this sentence then it would have to be altered a bit - Jack’s request to have a day off WAS MET OR HAS BEEN MET with his employer’s refusal.

Unless "Jack's request" sat down for a coffee with "his employer's refusal" and talked things through :)

All jokes aside I'd love someone to explain it to me and/or even give me some other examples of similar sentences ^^

The sentence comes from a Polish "Matura" extended level exam - something similar to A-level exams.

  • 1
    The have is unnecessary. Jack requested a day off, and was refused. The last clause is just formal nonsense. Nov 9, 2023 at 15:41
  • If you mean that met is used a bit metaphorically, yes, but it's too common to meet or be met with any pushback it might face. Nov 9, 2023 at 16:14
  • There is, in this sentence a kind of personification of the noun 'request'. It is as if the request (maybe written or maybe oral) travelled to the authority for responding to such requests and 'met' (or 'met with') his employer's refusal. It is a common usage.
    – Tuffy
    Nov 9, 2023 at 23:37

3 Answers 3


There are two forms that may be used:

From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English:

meet with somebody/something [phrasal verb] ...

  1. (also be met with something) to get a particular reaction or result
    meet with opposition/disapproval etc
    His comments have met with widespread opposition.
    meet with support/approval etc
    Her ideas have met with support from doctors and health professionals.
    meet with success/failure (=succeed or fail)
    Our attempts at negotiation finally met with some success.

[emphasis added]

The multi-word verb meet with [something] means to come up against, to provoke [a reaction, say 'opposition'].

But the synonymous be met with [something] means to experience [opposition], the implication being from an opponent (though there may be personification involved).

'Meet' is a reciprocal verb. Taking the arranged meeting sense†, if A meets B, B is met by A (†the passive is not usually used for the chance encounter sense). But also, A is met by B.

  • Why don't you say two word instead of multi-word??
    – Lambie
    Nov 9, 2023 at 15:57
  • The general class includes other varieties (get along with; get around to; put up with; take pity on ...). I use it rather than 'phrasal verb' for the whole collection; 'phrasal verb' has conflicting definitions, which helps no one. It's a recognised term. Nov 9, 2023 at 16:01
  • Maybe. But get along with someone is really get along/with someone.
    – Lambie
    Nov 9, 2023 at 16:02
  • You'd better inform Oxford Languages of their error. Nov 9, 2023 at 16:04
  • Oxford says phrasal verb; not multi-word verb, in any case.
    – Lambie
    Nov 9, 2023 at 16:11

To be "met with" describes how someone or something was welcomed or greeted. The expression can be used literally of an actual welcoming, or figuratively to describe how something was received, that is, what the reaction to it was like.

They were met with open arms.

The new rules were met with angry protests.

Jack's request for a day off was met with a curt refusal.


The employer issued the refusal against the incoming request, and the two collided with each other; each met the other. So we can say the request met (with) the refusal.

The very similar phrase met with resistance is quite common, without the "was" or "has".


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