I know the phrase "I know (someone) in person/personally." However, I didn't find the word "directly" used with that phrase. Also, I don't find that "in person" and "personally" fit the situation I intend.

The situation:

Note: X, Y, and Z are all females, so I'm going to refer to them individually by "her".

X told Y about Z some basic and general information as Z's name and workplace. Now Y wants to tell her mother that she didn't meet, see, or talk with Z. So, Y says: "I don't know Z directly, but I know her from X."

In person means involving someone's physical presence rather than communicating by phone, e-mail..etc

Cambridge Dictionary

Personally means if you meet or know someone personally, you meet or know them in real life, rather than knowing about them or knowing their work.

Collins Dictionary

If "directly" isn't proper, I may go with "personally".


2 Answers 2


If you have had no direct contact with her and know about her only through the intermediary of your friends, you can refer to that fact in a number of ways, among them:

I've never met her personally.

I myself have never met her.

I don't know her myself, but my friend X who does know her says she ...

If you've only spoken with a person on the phone or communicated via email or letter:

I've never met her face-to-face.

  • Thank you very much. I like and prefer what you have suggested, but what makes "directly" a bad choice? Is it not common when talking and describing our knowledge of people? Jan 28, 2019 at 13:53
  • 1
    Native speakers don't say "know directly" but "know personally". It's not clear what "know directly" would mean. It seems like "know firsthand" but we don't really say that of people.
    – TimR
    Jan 28, 2019 at 14:23
  • 1
    Also, you can know of someone without actually meeting them.
    – ColleenV
    Jan 28, 2019 at 15:54

I think the alternatives here are

  • 'I don't know her personally'
  • 'I didn't meet her in person' or 'I didn't actually meet her'
  • 'I didn't hear it from her directly'

We wouldn't use directly with "know her" but we would with other ways of communication or getting information.

For instance "I didn't speak with her directly, but her assistant told me..."

  • I think that's why it sounded familiar to me. Thank you a lot for your answer. Your last sentence was of great help. Jan 28, 2019 at 16:22

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