Feb 3, 2020

About vs. Approximately vs. Around

Will not go into all the other uses for these words, just enough to highlight the difference in use between them.

“About” is a word that means reasonably close to. About means reasonably close to, it is a guess or an estimate. We can use it to talk about quantity. About does not stress the closeness to accuracy that approximately does.

“Around” also means reasonably close to. We also use around in casual informal situations.  We can use around with numbers and quantity as we did with about. We use this for time as we saw with the word, about. So, for time, we can say, “I will be there around 7:00 p.m.” “I will be there around breakfast time.”

The difference between about and around is largely a matter of preference: about is more common in British English and around in American English.

“Approximately” means reasonably close to something else so we use it, again, to make an estimate, to make a guess. However, approximately is usually used in more formal situations. It is more natural to use approximately in formal situations. If you use “approximately” in an informal situation, it might sound strange.

Approximately has fairly limited uses. Around and about, however, have a few other functions to consider. When you are making guesses, when you are making estimates, especially for quantities or time, in most cases, about and around can both be used.

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