Have you ever had trouble deciding when exactly to use the verbs “meet” and “know”?
If so, you’re not alone. Non-native English speakers commonly confuse these two verbs and also have trouble using all of the phrasal verbs we use to fill in the meanings in between.
Mastering the verbs “meet” and “know” will help you speak more confidently about your plans and experiences.
How to Use Meet and Know
This vocabulary will help you explain the planned and unplanned interactions you have with other people. As you’ll see, you probably need to revise the way you use certain verbs. Be sure to think about how you can apply this language to your real life.
We use “to meet” to talk about the first time we are introduced to or introduce ourselves to someone.
- I met Joe at a party last week.
- Where did you meet your wife?
to meet with
We also use meet to describe a planned, formal meeting, usually with business colleagues or classmates, when you intend to discuss something. If the phrasal verb is used reflexively, we do not use “with.”
- I am meeting with my boss to talk about a pay raise.
- My team is meeting at 3 to discuss the new budget.
to meet up with
We use “to meet up with” to talk about plans we have with friends, acquaintances, family members, etc. These plans are usually for fun, with the intention of meeting up in order to do something. Like “to meet with,” the phrasal verb can be used reflexively.
- I am meeting up with my friends to go to a movie.
- On Friday, I met up with my cousins for dinner.
- What time are we meeting up today?
to get together with
We use “to get together with” similarly to “to meet up with” to talk about plans we have with friends, acquaintances, and family members to do a fun activity or spend time together at someone’s home. This phrasal verb can also be used reflexively.
- I am getting together with a friend from high school this evening.
- When do you want to get together this weekend?
to run into
We use “to run into” (or, less commonly, “to bump into”) to describe an unexpected encounter with an acquaintance, friend, classmate, business colleague, or even a family member.
- I ran into my ex-boyfriend at the grocery store. Ugh!
We use “to know” to describe the knowledge we have developed about a person, place, or thing. This knowledge is developed after some time and effort. We use “to know” to describe something we have learned about someone, somewhere, or something or something we are familiar with.
- My mother knows me very well.
- He knows how to play basketball.
- She knows a lot about Boston.
In the negative, “don’t know” means that we don’t have the knowledge of something.
- I don’t know where my keys are.
- We don’t know if we’ll have time for dinner.
We also use “to know” informally to indicate that we understand or don’t understand something. In the negative, it can mean “not sure.”
- It’s so hot in here! –I know, it’s ridiculous!
- This movie is great! –I don’t know, it seems pretty silly.
Please remember that we do not use “know” the first time we interact with a person. This is a common mistake for native speakers of Latin languages like Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian.
to get to know
We use “to get to know” to describe the process of developing knowledge about or becoming acquainted with a person or place. After we meet someone, we can get to know him or her in order to develop a stronger relationship and learn more about him/her.
- I want to get to know you better; you seem so interesting!
- While students live in Boston, they get to know the city very well.
Note: When describing the process of exploring a new city or country, we tend to use more basic verbs like “to go to” or “to see” rather than “to get to know.” You can also use “to visit,” “to explore,” or “to experience” to talk about specific places, sites, landmarks, or neighborhoods.
- WRONG: I want to know Paris!
- RIGHT: I want to go to Paris!
- WRONG: He wants to know the Taj Mahal.
- RIGHT: He wants to see the Taj Mahal.
Related Meeting Vocabulary
We use “meeting” to describe a planned, formal meeting with business colleagues or business associates, potential clients, or interactions with professors and students. A meeting is often work-related.
- I have a meeting with potential clients this afternoon.
- We are having a meeting to discuss the new guidelines.
We also use “meeting” to describe a formal gathering of a particular association, club, or organization.
- The film club meeting will be held next month.
We use “appointment” to describe the specific scheduled time when two people are meeting for a specific purpose. Generally, an appointment refers to a meeting with a doctor, dentist, hair stylist, massage therapist, optometrist, manicurist, etc.
- I have an appointment with my doctor at 3PM.
We can also use “appointment” to talk about the time that a meeting is scheduled in order to avoid revealing too many personal details about the reason for a meeting.
- I have an appointment with Mr. Jones at 10AM.
- I’m sorry, I’m not available at that time, I have another appointment.
We use “plans” in the plural to talk about previously arranged social activities with friends and family. Similarly to “appointment,” you can “plans” to tell someone that you are unavailable without revealing too many personal details. We generally use the verbs “to make” and “to have” with “plans.”
- Let’s make plans to see that new museum exhibit this weekend.
- I’m sorry I can’t go to your party! I already have plans.
We use “date” to refer to plans with someone we hope to get to know romantically.
- I am so excited for my date with that attractive man I met last weekend!!!
Note: Sometimes friends will use “date” jokingly to talk about the plans they’ve made with one another.
- Let’s meet up at 7! –It’s a date!
We use “interview” to talk about a meeting with a potential employer (or prospective employee). This meeting is basically a question-and-answer session where the potential employer and prospective employee get to know each other. After an interview, the employer decides whether to hire the prospective employee.
- My cousin has an interview with a well-known company today. I hope it goes well!
We also use “interview” to talk about the question-and-answer session between a reporter or researcher and someone who has knowledge or experience he/she wants to know about.
- That famous artist was interviewed for the newspaper.
- That interview with Angelina Jolie was so interesting!
Is there any other similar vocabulary you can think of? Let me know in the comments.
Now it’s your turn! Let’s use a few of these expressions in a sentence. Leave a comment below showing me your mastery of this vocabulary, and I’ll let you know how you did!