“Interesting. I've never encountered that phrase before.”

English Lesson: Interesting. I've never encountered that phrase before.

You're talking with an English-speaking colleague and she uses a phrase that you've never heard before. You ask her to explain what it means. After she explains it, you say this.

Interesting. I've never encountered that phrase before.

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Sometimes in spoken English you can just say an adjective by itself: 

Hmm. Interesting.

You can't do this with all adjectives. For example, it's strange to just say "Hot." But some more adjectives that you can say by themselves include:





Notice that these words are all positive.

encounter (something)

The basic meaning of the word "encounter" is "meet". But you usually don't use "encounter ___" to talk about meeting people. Instead, you "encounter" things like problems, words, and situations:

The study indicates that foreign students encounter a variety of challenges in their new environment, including language difficulties, discrimination, and bullying.

If I ever encountered a situation where I had to choose between my marriage and my career, I'm not exactly sure what I would do.

In the situation above, the speaker could also say:

I've never come across that phrase before.

"Come across ___" is a more casual way to express the idea of "encountering" something like a word or phrase. To "come across" something means to encounter it or to find it by accident:

Sometimes you'll be flipping through the channels and come across something really interesting.