Come across some silk

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Intoarut

Senior Member
Latin American Spanish
Hi everyone,

In the sentence:

Vera was lucky enough to ________ across some silk left over from the manufacture of parachutes.

Why is it that the correct answer is COME ACROSS, but not RUN ACROSS (since both mean FIND SOMETHING BY CHANCE)?

Thanks in advance!
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    No: the authors of your exercise should be able to account for the choice of "come across"....
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I think "ran across" usually means "encountered" while "came across" means "discovered". You don't really have an encounter with an object.

    "I ran across an old school friend." (I wouldn't use "came across" here)
    "I came across an old book my grandmother had hidden in the attic." (I wouldn't use "ran across" here)
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I think "ran across" usually means "encountered" while "came across" means "discovered". You don't really have an encounter with an object.

    "I ran across an old school friend." (I wouldn't use "came across" here)
    "I came across an old book my grandmother had hidden in the attic." (I wouldn't use "ran across" here)
    I make exactly the same distinction.:)
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    So you'd see "run across" as wrong, James? (I wouldn't.)
    Define "wrong". It would not be my choice but there's nothing absolutely wrong about it. Many tests seem to be testing for common collocations rather than giving only one possible correct answer. For me, "ran across" has to do with paths crossing in some way so I wouldn't use it in this context.

    Whether that is a universal distinction or simply a personal quirk, I cannot say.

    I could come across a dead body in the road but I couldn't run across it because it is now behaving like an object.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I think both "run across" and "come across" can be used for inanimate things. I don't think there's a BE/AE difference, since I've found examples in British and American dictionaries.

    run across something
    to find something without specifically looking for it. While looking for a present for my father, I ran across the most interesting book.
    <a href="http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/run+across">run across</a>

    For people: "run into", "run across", "come across"are all used.

    Despite the evidence from dictionaries and online searches, I would only use "come across" in the OP sentence. :rolleyes: Personal quirk? No idea.
     
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