If our body part comes in contact with someone such as we are walking through a crowd and our elbow touches someone hard that hurts them although we've not done this on purpose, can we say:

My elbow hit him mistakenly.

problem with this sentence

I hit him with my elbow mistakenly

is that it feels as if there was force in this. Since the meaning of 'hit' is:

to bring your hand, or an object you are holding, against somebody/something quickly and with force

I stumbled over his shoulder/ hand...

What about this?


2 Answers 2


It would sound better if you said the following.

I elbowed him accidentally/by accident

As to your third sentence, I would thought that the person whose shoulder you stumbled over was lying somewhere. So if you mean that you hit him as you were passing each other, then the following will be fine.

I bumped into him accidentally/by accident.


I ran into him accidentally/by accident.

And you could also swap accidentally or by accident for mistakenly or by mistake with no change in meaning.


First of all, the better sounding version would be:

My elbow hit him by mistake.

Secondly, a better way to phrase this would be different, since you hit someone, not your elbow:

I hit him by mistake with my elbow.

Third thing is to use correct time:

I have hit him with my elbow by mistake.

And just to use nicer words it can be:

I have just accidentaly hit him with my elbow.

Stumbled is more about tripping over something on the floor, or meeting someone unexpectantly, it is not used in the context of physical contact.

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