I just read a part of conversation between two people on a book, which I am not gonna quote the exact words due to copyright stuff. It goes something like

Hey, I am Kettle you must be Stove, my new roommate. I can tell by your profile picture. "Finally, we meet!"

Now I am wondering, is it right to use the present tense? I would have said Finally, we met!

What is the difference and why would someone say that sentence in a present tense?


I am asking this question, because, chronologically, the action of meeting has to be prior to uttering that sentence? I mean "to meet" is instantaneous and hence, the utterance has to be after the instance of meeting! Also, the adverb "finally" in the beginning of sentence makes me feel like something has already finished!

  • 1
    You can quote the exact words. You're not violating any law.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 7, 2020 at 6:54
  • Why do you think the past tense is appropriate when two people are talking in the present?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 7, 2020 at 6:55
  • @Mari-LouA I've been thinking about it for a while, and I haven't come up with any definite answer. Suppose I post every paragraph of a book each day. What would it be called then?
    – Cardinal
    Jun 7, 2020 at 6:56
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    I've seen users cite entire passages from the same book for weeks. Nothing happened because the title of the book was always included.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 7, 2020 at 6:58
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    But the two are still in the process of meeting each other. In any case, you should add the last comment in the question it explains your rationale for asking.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 7, 2020 at 7:01

1 Answer 1


"Finally, we meet!" is the correct form.

The present tense is perfectly appropriate, because the act of "meeting" is more than just the moment in time in which the contact was made. It is usually considered to span over the entire time the people are together during that encounter.

We may say "Finally, we met!" if you are later discussing (online, perhaps) the meeting that took place earlier, after which you parted and went your separate ways.

  • Interesting, I though that "to meet someone" is an instantaneous event, like you see someone's face in one second and boom, in the next second you are technically a person that has met another person!
    – Cardinal
    Jun 7, 2020 at 7:07
  • Technically, possibly yes, but in practice, really not. Consider a "meeting house" where "meetings" are held, and the "meetings" last, say, an hour or so. Jun 7, 2020 at 7:08
  • I see, but the context of that sentence is like when two people just saw each other. For some reason, I feel like "to meet" in that context is sort of identical "to see"!
    – Cardinal
    Jun 7, 2020 at 7:10
  • Well yes, it is, but having seen this person, you carry on seeing them, yes? At least for the 5 minutes it takes to have that initial conversation? Jun 7, 2020 at 7:13
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    The "Finally" refers to the fact that after some indeterminately long time, that period of (excited?) anticipation has reached the end, and the people are no longer "people-that-have-not-met". Thus "finally" refers directly to that period. Jun 7, 2020 at 7:33

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