'commonly' know [know in common]

stillwater

Member
korean
Can I use the word "commonly" in the following sentence to mean those people we (my friend and I) both know, not those that we (people in general) usually know.


"My friend and I talked about people we commonly know."


I was trying to say that "My friend and I talked about people we know in common." Like old friend, etc.
 
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    My friend and I talked about people we commonly know.


    I was trying to say that "My friend and I talked about people we know in common." Like old friend, etc.
    It is not idiomatic. Why not be direct and simple and say "people we both know"?
     

    Elwintee

    Senior Member
    England English
    Would it be incomprehensible/confusing to a native speaker if I said that?
    I think any native speaker would know what you meant by 'commonly know', but as posters have said, it is not idiomatic. 'Commonly' is more or less synonymous with 'usually' ('there are a number of people I commonly see in the market'), so it it a little ambiguous in your phrase. 'People we both know' or 'people we know in common' are the best ways to say this.
     

    stillwater

    Member
    korean
    I used it in the following sentence when I wrote to former professor whom I've met for the first time in 15 years. A second language person's mistake... Hope he understood what I meant.

    "I enjoyed visiting with you, reconnecting and being updated about the people we commonly know..."

     

    Cypherpunk

    Senior Member
    US, English
    I was confused by what you said, too. If you want to use 'common', the only phrase that would make sense to me is 'friends we have in common' (sorry, Elwintee, but even 'people we know in common' sounds strange to me), but it's more common to say 'friends we both know', as the others have suggested.
     
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