My dictionary says you say 'Nice to see you' at the time when you meet someone and 'Nice seeing you' when it's the time for departure.

Then which should be used when you recollect the encounter?
TakaThen which should be used when you recollect the encounter?
Emotion: big smile You think of everything, don't you?

I suppose I'd have to say that it depends whether you're recollecting the arrival or departure of the person you met. Implicit in the departure is the whole accumulation of experiences during the meeting, adding up to the whole time spent with the person you met.

It was nice seeing/meeting him. (Suggests focus on the first contact with 'him'.)

It was nice to see/meet him. (Suggests focus on the entire experience of seeing/meeting 'him'.)

These differences are very subtle, and others may disagree with me, judging the two exactly the same.

CJ
"It was nice to see you" if you're recalling meeting someone. Also "It was nice seeing you" is fine.

Here's a fuller explanation.

"Nice to see you" is a shortened version of "IT IS nice to see you", which is present tense because of the implied IS. In other words, the experience of "seeing you" IS nice.

"Nice seeing you" is a shortened version of "IT HAS BEEN nice seeing you", in other words, the experience of "seeing you" HAS BEEN nice. You say this when you part from someone, referring to the time you've just spent together.

"IT WAS nice to see you" or "IT WAS nice seeing you" are both past tense, so I'm referring back to a time in the past when I "saw you". For example "IT WAS nice to see you last week". The sentence is saying that the experience of "seeing you", which happened in the past, WAS nice.
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CalifJim You think of everything, don't you?
Emotion: big smile On the forums, yes.

Jim, I'm kind of confused. You say:

CalifJim I suppose I'd have to say that it depends whether you're recollecting the arrival or departure of the person you met.
Are you saying that if you were recollecting the arrival, you would say '(It was) nice to meet him' whereas if the departure, you would say '(It was) nice meeting him'?

And you go on to say:

CalifJim
It was nice seeing/meeting him. (Suggests focus on the first contact with 'him'.)
It was nice to see/meet him. (Suggests focus on the entire experience of seeing/meeting 'him'.)
So if you were recollecting the arrival of 'him' and it was the first contact, which would you say?

KrisBlueNZ"Nice seeing you" is a shortened version of "IT HAS BEEN nice seeing you".

That's what most of the grammar books I have say, but I wonder if it's necessarily so.

Anyway, let me ask. How does this sentence sound to you?

It has been nice to see you.

TakaJim, I'm kind of confused. You say:
CalifJim I suppose I'd have to say that it depends whether you're recollecting the arrival or departure of the person you met.
Are you saying that if you were recollecting the arrival, you would say '(It was) nice to meet him' whereas if the departure, you would say '(It was) nice meeting him'?
And you go on to say:
CalifJim
It was nice seeing/meeting him. (Suggests focus on the first contact with 'him'.)
It was nice to see/meet him. (Suggests focus on the entire experience of seeing/meeting 'him'.)
So if you were recollecting the arrival of 'him' and it was the first contact, which would you say?
I think that the fact that I am confusing one with the other and giving contradictory descriptions is proof that it makes no difference which you say - at least not to me. I thought there might be a difference, but now that I've tried to explain it, and got feedback from you, I see that there is probably no difference, and if there is, someone else will have to explain it. Emotion: smile

CJ
Taka
KrisBlueNZ"Nice seeing you" is a shortened version of "IT HAS BEEN nice seeing you".
That's what most of the grammar books I have say, but I wonder if it's necessarily so.
Anyway, let me ask. How does this sentence sound to you?
It has been nice to see you.
I wouldn't say that myself. I would say something like "It has been nice chatting with you", although that's probably not strictly grammatical unless you add a comma after NICE, so that it's equivalent to "Chatting with you has been nice".

I would not say "It has been nice to ..." anything.
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Hi Taka,

I think your dictionary DOES steer you in the right direction when it says that "Nice to see you" is something that would most likely be said at the beginning of an encounter. In this case 'see' seems to refer to a starting point. There is no sense of duration.

At the end of such an encounter I am much more likely to say "Nice seeing you." To this native speaker, the use of 'seeing' adds a sense of duration. Thus, to me the sense is "it is nice that I have been seeing/visiting you (for a while)".

When you later recollect the encounter, it doesn't really make much difference whether you use 'to see' or 'seeing'. However, I do think the use of 'seeing' continues to add a sense of duration/activity, whereas the use of 'see' refers to the past act as a whole (and thus the reference seems to be to the act as a single point in time).

That's my take.
OK. Thanks, everyone!