Archive for February 25, 2010

inseparable phrasal verb: come across (as)


We have another inseparable phrasal verb today: come across. This expression has two meanings:

1. to find something by accident. For example:

I came across this watch when I was cleaning the house. Is it yours?

If you come across any interesting websites when you’re surfing the web, please let me know.

2. for a person or comment to be perceived in a certain way. For example:

I didn’t have the chance to hear Ben’s speech. How did he come across?

A: I didn’t mean to sound arrogant when I said that.

B: Well, that’s the way it came across.

In this example, the person seems to other people to be arrogant, even though that was not his intention. Please note that this second meaning of “come across” is intransitive. This means that there is not an object in the sentence.

We can also use “come across” followed by the preposition “as”. Again, this means that people have a certain idea about another person’s personality based on the way he or she looks or speaks. For example:

People tell me I come across as shy, but I don’t think I am. I’m just a quiet person.

In the TV interview, the actor came across as being very conceited. I don’t like him so much anymore.

Please note that  the pattern is:

come across as + adjective


come across as + being + adjective

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