make somebody's acquaintance

thankful1

Senior Member
Greek
I would like to ask you if I could tell somebody "It is my pleasure to make your acquaintance" if we both know that we will not meet again.
Thank you in advance.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I hope that you will get answers from a lot of different people on this. There probably are a lot of different opinions.

    I would say something like "I am pleased to have met you" or "It is nice to have met you." I wouldn't say "to have made your acquaintance", because I think of making an acquaintance as the beginning of an on-going relationship. As I said, I am not certain other people see it the same way.
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Hi Thankful, it's very formal but perfectly correct in my opinion, it's what I imagine people who meet at formal dinner parties in Victorian times would say, nobody except the most formal elite would say this in England in a serious sense.

    But regarding if you could do it, yes you could and it'd be correct, when to use it though, is a different story... :)
    If they say this when leaving, it'd be "to have made your...."
     

    WyomingSue

    Senior Member
    English--USA
    I agree with Cagey. An acquaintance is someone you know slightly, so to make someone's acquaintance suggests that you would see them occasionally in the future. I might "meet" the governor, but we have not become "acquainted."
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Hi WyomingSue, an acquaintance certainly means what you said it does, but this isn't a case of applying logic to the phrase to get meaning, it's an idiom, it's synonymous with "to meet someone" (difference in register, but not in semantic function), it's figurative.

    Here's a dictionary entry detailing it:
    (I'm) delighted to make your acquaintance.
    Fig.
    I am very glad to meet you.

    Tom: My name is Tom. I work in the advertising department.
    Mary: I'm Mary. I work in accounting. Delighted to make your acquaintance.
    Tom: Yeah. Good to meet you.
    Fred: Sue, this is Bob. He'll be working with us on the Wilson project.
    Sue: I'm delighted to make your acquaintance, Bob.
    Bob: My pleasure.
    Also discussed here on WR.

    Thesaurus
    :
    Main Entry: meet
    Part of Speech: verb
    Definition: come together, convene

    Synonyms: appear, assemble, be introduced, be present, be presented, collect, congregate, converge, enter in, flock, foregather, gather, get to know, get together, join, make acquaintance, muster, open, rally, rendezvous, show, sit
    As for the people that might say it (very rare) I'm not 100% sure if they would make a distinction between thinking they will be seeing them again in the future, or if they know they won't, I personally think it became a crystalised expression and was(is) used as a declaration to say when you meet someone (regardless of future intention, it's just a formal statement). These types of things (i.e. what you say when being introduced to somebody for the first time) have the characteristic of becoming quite idiomatic.

    I don't think I've ever heard this in an American English context, I don't think I'd actually expect it, it just sounds too posh-British, excuse me if I am wrong and people over there do use it, I think it might be more BE related.

    [Edit]: I found this article listing comparisons of the Scouse dialect and the "Queen's English" next to it, which lists the "make acquaintance" expression.

    You can hear the accent by listening to many famous people: Wayne Rooney, John Lennon, Steven Gerrard or the comedian Jimmy Tarbuck. And here for you all to enjoy, are a quick list of Scouse words “ with a Queen's English " translation next to them:

    The Words Da Werds
    Ullo dur! Greetings! Pleased to make your acquaintance
    Bummin’ Begging
    Darrafact? Is that true?
    Binbagged To be asked to leave by your boy/girlfriend
    I'm not sure if that indicates a strictly British (old fashioned) usage though..
     
    Last edited:

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I usually bow at the waist and say, "I'm pleased [or "delighted"] to have made your acquaintance."

    And the young lady would curtsy and reply, "My pleasure, I'm certain."

    Actually, the more likely scenario would be:

    Packard: "It's been nice meeting [talking with] you."

    Beautiful young lady: "Likewise."

    Note: This is starting to sound like a thread on etiquette and not one on language.
     

    thankful1

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Thank you for your interesting replies. Well, in May I am sitting the english proficiency Cambridge CPE and I was just wondering if I could use this phrase in speaking so as to "impress" the examiner. My dictionary says:
    make somebody's acquaintance formal: to meet someone for the first time:
    I should be delighted to make Mrs McGough's acquaintance.
    At the hotel, I made the acquaintance of a young American actor.
     
    Last edited:

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I recommend against it, thankful. I think it would sound odd and pretentious in that context.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top