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What is the difference between "meet" and "meet with"?

For example, which of these should I say?

  1. I met my boss yesterday
  2. I met with my boss yesterday
  3. I'm meeting my friends tonight
  4. I'm meeting with my friends tonight

1 Answer 1

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I met my boss yesterday.

Without elaboration, this implies that you met your boss for the first time.

I met my boss at Spago* yesterday.

You had lunch or dinner with your boss. (It was not your first encounter.)

I met with my boss yesterday.

You got together with your boss for a specific purpose. It was likely to be a working meeting of some sort.

I'm meeting my friends tonight.

You're going out to have fun with your friends.

I'm meeting with my friends tonight.

You're getting together with friends for some shared purpose. It might be for fun, but the "with" is more likely to be used to suggest a special purpose to the meeting: planning, hobby, whatever.

* Spago is an upscale restaurant, suitable for business luncheons or important dinners.

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    To clarify, "I met my boss at Spago yesterday." does not necessarily imply you met your boss for the first time at a place called Spago.
    – BruceWayne
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 18:04
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    @BruceWayne: I thought that was implicit, but no harm in making it explicit.
    – Robusto
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 18:48
  • "I met my boss at Spago yesterday." implies that the meeting was unplanned, or even unexpected, especially if "Spago" is a grocery store, or some other place unrelated to business functions. Lunch/dinner plans are often expressed as, "I had lunch with my boss yesteraday." But, "I met my boss at the cafe" does not imply whether the meeting was planned or unplanned without more context.
    – jpaugh
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 21:10
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    @Robusto Got it. If I had known of the place, that would have supplied the missing context. I would include that link in the answer. With it, your explanation makes sense. (Without it, readers may get a bit confused, whether fluent or not.)
    – jpaugh
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 21:14
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    Note that traditionalists, certainly in the UK, regard "meet with" as ugly (because the "with" is redundant), and regard "meet up with" as an absolute horror. Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 22:11

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