Well, but Paul a sentence like:To bump into indicates a happy, coincidental meeting. It is positive and is only used to refer to people.
To come across indicates an unexpected meeting. It is neutral and can be used for both people and abstract and concrete things.
In North Anerican English you just come across an object or someone you are not familiar with Velisarius. Some dictionaries mistakenly generalized it as a rule, which is not applicable everywhere.You seem to be contradicting what PaulQ said.
What was the complete sentence, and which dictionary was that?
Out walking the other day, I came across an old lady who had forgotten where she'd parked her car. I was happy to assist her.
I think one of the problems of not being a native speaker is that there are a few phrases1 that do seem (and I emphasise "seem") strange. This is often entirely subjective.Well, but Paul a sentence like:
"I came across an old friend in the supermarket" sounds completely wrong to me.
What we non natives know is what you natives teach us Paul.I think one of the problems of not being a native speaker is that there are a few phrases1 that do seem (and I emphasise "seem") strange. This is often entirely subjective.
Anyway, "I came across an old friend in the supermarket" doesn't sound strange to me, and, although my AE is not fluent by any means, I would find it strange if it were not idiomatic in AE also.
Have a look at this Google Ngram for AE for came across an old friend,bumped into an old friend
1 They become fewer as fluency increases.
One more perfect answer from you Steve.This is in reference to my previous post.
Note this example from Oxford.
come-across phrasal verb - Definition, pictures, pronunciation and usage notes | Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary at OxfordLearnersDictionaries.com
"I came across children sleeping under bridges."
My note: Encountering children sleeping under a bridge is rather uncommon. This is more of a distant possibility or a remote possibility.
And here's another one from the Longman Dictionary.
come across | meaning of come across in Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English | LDOCE
"I’ve never come across anyone quite like her before."
My note: People like her are very uncommon, so it's much less likely that anyone would have a chance encounter with this person.
Both sentences imply that the chance of such an encounter with any such person or people is more remote or more distant. This is how we can understand "come across" when speaking of a chance encounter or a chance meeting with a person or other people.
A chance encounter with Joe at the supermarket is different. Someone could say this:
You'll never guess who I bumped into at the supermarket.
Who was it?
It was Joe. I'm really glad I bumped into him. We have to talk about our plans for the big fishing trip.
Generally, I would not expect someone to say, "I came across Joe at the supermarket".