Meet vs. See - Learn the difference [English Grammar Lesson]

by Katie Almeida Spencer on Tue, Apr 2, 2019

Meet_vs._See-1

Quick answer:

Use MEET for the first time you see someone or when you are seeing them because you have plans or an appointment. Use SEE for all other situations.

Consider this scenario:

Sandra and I grew up together, but I hadn’t seen her in years. So, when she moved back to Boston, I suggested we get coffee and catch up. We met at my favorite café, and it was so nice to see each other! After hours of talking, we decided to get together again for a barbecue at her new house so I could meet her kids.

Meet and See are two words that are often swapped, though not always correctly. They both can be used for spending time together, so it’s tricky to use the correct one. Let’s break down the paragraph above to look at how these words should be used.

MEET is used to talk about the first time you see someone.

After hours of talking, we decided to get together again for a barbecue at her new house so I could meet her kids.

In the sentence above, the speaker has never met Sandra’s kids before, so this will be the first time she lays eyes on them.

But, and this is where it gets confusing, MEET can be used when you make an appointment, have plans, or schedule something.

So, when she moved back to Boston, I suggested we get coffee and catch up. We met at my favorite café…

Other examples are:

  • Let’s meet at 3 p.m. on Friday to discuss the project.
  • The managers will meet at noon on the first Tuesday of the month to review progress.

*The word meeting, so often used in business, comes from this second of use of meet, because a meeting is essentially a scheduled plan or appointment.

SEE is used for spending time with someone when it is not the first time.

Sandra and I grew up together, but I hadn’t seen her in years.

…and it was so nice to see each other!

Topics: Business Grammar

Katie Almeida Spencer

About the author

Katie Almeida Spencer

Katie is an experienced Business Writing and English as a Second Language instructor, business writing coach, and teacher trainer. She taught Business and Academic Writing at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Rhode Island and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Massachusetts Boston.

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