To come across as…

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I have to admit that the blog has been quiet for the past couple of weeks, but there is a good reason – Linguistic Spy has infiltrated a certain organisation (meaning – I’ve found a job). And even though this means I won’t have as much free time on my hands, there should be a lot of new words and expressions to share.

The expression I’ve chosen for today is extremely popular and I’ve heard it on numerous occasions. For instance, you could say ‘She might come across as unfriendly, but in fact she is just a bit shy’. This phrasal verb means to ‘make a certain impression on other people’. However, with phrasal verbs you need to be particularly careful, as ‘to come across‘ (without ‘as’) would have an entirely different meaning – ‘to meet or find somebody/something by chance’ (E.g. I came across a word I’d never seen before).

Have a look at a few examples of how it’s used:

– She can come across as stuck up at first ( Actually, check out their explanation.

– Trying to enliven boring, unskilled work is risky, they say: presenting cutesy badges to call-centre staff can easily come across as patronising rather than motivating (The Economist).

– Much modern manufacturing takes place on spotless shop floors with only the lightest sprinkling of staff to monitor the purring machinery. So Tata Steel’s works at Port Talbot in south Wales come across as reassuringly gritty and old-school (The Economist).

– Dinoire regularly turns down media requests and rarely agrees to be photographed. She comes across as relaxed and self-assured, but her traumatic ordeal has left its mark, physically and mentally (BBC).

– ‘It’s hard for me to play romantic. I come across as a bit of a jerk’ (The Guardian).

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