Monday, February 21, 2011

60-Second Syntax: about vs. approximately

60-Second Syntax is a quick look at some common mistakes in writing. Please note: Different editors may follow different styles and rules.

Though often wrongly used interchangeably, there are a proper times when you should use about or approximately.

About is used when discussing a generalization or an estimation. It is also an adverb. The majority of the time, about is the word you will want to use.

Approximately is used in relation to scientific data. It means almost exact or nearly correct.

Example: She expected the bill for her home improvements to be about $5,000.
The accident happened at approximately 5:50 p.m.


  1. I probably misuse these words. Thanks for the heads up.

  2. I know I do. Thank you for this tip, I will have to print it out.

  3. Thank you so much for this one! I think I've been doing this wrong. :(