"Nice to see you" on first meeting

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Mariko-chan, Nov 17, 2007.

  1. Mariko-chan Member

    Hi. I leaned that "Nice to see you." is used when you see someone you have met before or you already know, and "Nice to meet you." is used when you meet someone for the first time.

    But recently I keep hearing "Nice to see you." when people meet someone for the first time. It happened to me as well. I met someone for the first time and the person said "Nice to see you." <- It was said by a native English speaker.

    Please tell me when I can use these:
    "Nice to see you."
    "Nice to meet you."
    "Nice meeting you."
    "Nice seeing you."

    And can you say "Nice to see you" or "Nice to meet you." at the time of Good-bye?
    Are British English and American English different?

    I'm in Australia.

    Thank you so much.
  2. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    Hi Mariko-Chan and welcome to the forum,

    I think I use the convention you mention - see if you've met before, and meet if it's the first meeting. That certainly seems logical. But people are very varied in the conventions they use and, in practice, talk very loosely indeed. I'm not surprised to hear you've come across these other uses of the expressions.

    I still prefer what you learned originally.

    I don't know if BE and AE differ much in this. I speak BE and come from Manchester.
  3. trier2007

    trier2007 Member

    Italian/English (US) bilingual
    I'm a bilingual (Italian and AE); I would say 'nice to meet you', too. As for 'nice seeing you' and 'nice meeting you', I find them not so "idiomatic"...
  4. Mariko-chan Member

    Thank you for your response, Thomas and trier2007.

    I often hear that on TV. News TV. But not to guests, to people obviously they meet for the first time. And the person who said that to me was rather old and well-educated (I think).
    I thought it may be the new use of English. Trend.. can I say? I don't know.
    Or people don't want to use the word "meet" anymore..?
    I went on research. I have found one site that said "When you meet someone who you are arranged to meet / supposed to meet for the first time, you say 'Nice to see you.' ."
    Is that true????? This was not written by a native English speaker.
  5. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    I agree with Thomas Tompion. I would use "nice to meet you" for the first encounter and "nice to see you" for subsequent encounters.

    As for "nice seeing you" and "nice meeting you", I would use those as farewells, as in "it was nice meeting you" or "it was nice seeing you again."
  6. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    I absolutely agree with Thomas's and JamesM's comments; even though Thomas is from the UK and James is from the US, the conventions don't seem that different to me.

    I would use "nice to see you" in the following situations:

    On parting after meeting someone I have known for some time, but perhaps have not seen for a while: "Well, it was nice to see you [again]".

    Some time after parting with a person as above, perhaps in a phone call, letter or e-mail: "It was lovely/nice/great to see you on [day]". I might also say "it was nice seeing you on X" in this situation.

    I really don't think there is any aversion to using "meet", by the way.
  7. linkmaster03 New Member

    United States - English
    I am native in English, and below I have presented the appropriate uses for the phrases you provided:

    "Nice to see you." -- You would say this when you meet up with a friend that you have previously known.
    "Nice to meet you." -- You would say this when you meet someone for the first time.
    "Nice meeting you." -- You would say this when you are leaving someone in which you have met them for the first time.
    "Nice seeing you." -- You would say this when you are leaving someone that you have already known, and probably have not seen them in a while.
  8. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Here is a piece of generalised advice.
    If you are reading anything about English that includes the kind of authoritative statement I have picked out in red, stop reading and look for a more intelligent source.

    English is not so easy to prescribe, which seems to make it really difficult for you.
    But in fact English is much more flexible and tolerant, which makes it much easier for you. If you appear to be sincere, the words you use are not important.
  9. Nikola Senior Member

    English - American
    I think the conventions mentioned above are used in AUE, BE and AE and other places where English is spoken. Although the gerund is most often used on parting I have occasionally heard it as an initial greeting in different countries as you have heard it in Australia.
  10. Mariko-chan Member

    Thank you for your quick response, JamesM, Matching Mole, linkmaster03, panjandrum and Nikola.

    Hmm.. so it's that there are "rules" on this but there are some people who do not want to follow...

    Thank you so much guys! You people are very kind. I have learned a lot.

  11. anothersmith Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    English, U.S.
    A person might say "nice to see you" if he can't remember whether he's met the other person before (to avoid the risk of offending the other person by saying "nice to meet you").
  12. nzfauna

    nzfauna Senior Member

    Wellington, New Zealand
    New Zealand, English
    In NZ, this is how we would use these:

    "Nice to see you." = When you're just about to leave someone you know after you hadn't seen them for a while.
    "Nice to meet you." = When you're just about to leave someone you hadn't met before.
    "Nice meeting you." = same as nice to meet you
    "Nice seeing you." = same as nice to see you.

    Additionally, if you see the person you've only just met again... I would say "nice to meet you again/nice meeting you again" OR "nice to see you again".
  13. janko Member

    Italy - italian

    I came to this discussion just to understand how to introduce myself by email to someone I've never met before.
    What is the form of "nice to meet you" for an email? Someone already mentioned the email, but the discussion is still on the phone.
    Could you help me?

    Thank you.
  14. Gwan Senior Member

    Indre et Loire, France
    New Zealand, English
    There's not any real way to say this by email that I can think of, for the simple reason that you haven't really met the person.

    If it's business you could say something like "I look forward to working with you" or "it's a pleasure to be working with you", if you think you will meet in person "I look forward to meeting you". If it's very formal, you could say "it's a pleasure to make your acquaintance", but it's debatable whether you actually have 'made an acquaintance' with someone you've only communicated with via email.

    It might be easier to make suggestions if you could give an idea of exactly what you're intending to write in your email.
  15. shawnee

    shawnee Senior Member

    English - Australian
    As you are clearly aware mariko of the correct convention here, you should also be aware that in the Australian context the etiquette of greeting is prone to be disregarded. Australians are loath to rely on convention in such circumstances in favour of sincerity of feeling as stated previously.
  16. Patientia New Member

    English - Australian
    'Nice to see you' is a greeting that has become more and more current. It drives me nuts! I find it a disingenuous greeting when it's clear that neither party have ever met before. A friend who works with the Australian government and the U.N. explained that this is the greeting he was advised to use by his media trainer, so as to avoid potentially offending people he'd already met by saying '"Nice to meet you"'. Nice to see you is almost always mildly offensive because it leaves you with the suspicion that the person you're talking to has either forgotten who you are or is pretending they've met you when you know they haven't.

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