bump into vs come across

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jihoon

Senior Member
korean
I know two sentences that are available.

I didn't think I would bump into you here.

I came across a kid in a practice room.


I feel they are a little different in nuance but I'm not sure.

Are they exactly the same meaning?
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    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.
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    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.
    Well, but Paul a sentence like:
    - . I came across an in the supermarket" sounds completely wrong to me. As I know, dictuonaries sadly have it wrong. One cannot come across sb. Maybe there is a regional difference.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    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.
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    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.
    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.
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    Oh sorry for the typo dear all.
    - I came across an old friend in the supermarket. --> it sounds a bit odd to me. while you can freely use "run / bump into somebody".
    You can come across a key (an object) (find it unexpectedly) which you lost it in the past time and did not expect to find it accidentally.
    Also, sometimes, one can use "come upon" something as a substitue for come across (although it sounds a bit formal / old-fashioned).
    Stumble upon/on... is another alternative for "come across something".
    In more formal cases, you can encounter someone, which more often is used in its noun form "have/has encounter with somebody".

    Also, you can run/bump into someone acquainted, but you can use come across for an unacquainted person.
     
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    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    The difference between bumped into and came across is that the first one implies you had an exchange of words (however brief). The second one does not.

    That's why you can't bump into a key. You can't hold a conversation with a key. You could come across an old enemy of yours and turn and walk away before they saw you. It wouldn't be the most natural way to say it but it wouldn't be wrong.

    "Came across" means "stumble on", as you said. It's a form of discovering. Bumping into has a different emphasis. It's about the interaction between the two people.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Well, but Paul a sentence like:
    "I came across an old friend in the supermarket" sounds completely wrong to me.
    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.
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    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.
    What we non natives know is what you natives teach us Paul. :)
    Well, please have a look on the follwoing links where all natives insist that "come across" is mainly used in reference to an object rather that an individual:

    [Video link removed. DonnyB - moderator]

    More English sources:

    italki: Learn a language online

    Difference between "run into", "come upon" and "come across"

    https://www.myenglishteacher.eu/ask/question/run-into-come-across-difference/

    What is the difference between run into and come across and encounter ?

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.englishforums.com/English/BumpIntoComeAcrossRunInto/bblxqz/amp.htm
     
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    Steven David

    Senior Member
    English Standard American
    With "come across" to speak of a chance encounter with another person, I believe we are dealing with nuance, a slight difference in meaning, or a more specific idea. This would not be the first thing to come to mind, and dictionaries probably don't account for it.

    Generally, using "come across" to speak of people, usually implies, or means a much more unexpected, very chance, or much less likely encounter. So it is possible to use "come across" to speak of people, but this is a lot less frequent than "bump into" (or "run into"), which is the more usual expression for a chance or unexpected encounter with another person.

    Also, in speaking of "coming across a person", we can imagine a crossroads or an intersection. What would be the chances of crossing an intersection and meeting someone you know or have not seen for a long time? The chances would be very small. So "come across" seems to imply two separate points coming together in one place, which seems to be rather unlikely but still possible. On the other hand, "bump into" gives us the idea of more open space, not limited to "across" or "a crossing point", thereby making it seem that such a meeting is not such a distant or a remote possibility.

    In other words, it seems a lot less likely that two points, or two people, would come together exactly where two roads cross each other (come across). By contrast, "bump into" seems to tell us that the space is open (not limited to a point where two lines cross) and the possibility of a chance encounter with someone is somewhat less distant or less remote.

    It's true that, more often, "come across" is used to speak of objects of any type and animals.

    We should also remember that "come across" can also be used to speak of an impression someone leaves or how someone projects their personality in a given situation.
     

    Steven David

    Senior Member
    English Standard American
    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".

    ;) :)

    Also, I would not expect anyone to say these sentences:

    "I've never bumped into anyone quite like her before."

    "I bumped into some children sleeping under a bridge."

    o_O :rolleyes: :) ;)
     
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    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    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".

    ;) :)
    One more perfect answer from you Steve. :)
     
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