Scientific English as a Foreign Language
Answers to Lesson of June 20, 1997
Around, About, Approximately

Please don't overuse "about" or "around" in your papers to mean "approximately". "About" and "around" have many other meanings than "approximately", a few of which I have listed below. Use them as variety and as alternatives to "approximately", but remember that "approximately" is really what you usually want to express.




Try putting the three words in the sentences below.

1. The moat is around, about (2 possibilities) the castle.
2. I'm about done with the experiment.
3. The value of the modulus is approximately 100 MPa.
4. The tools are scattered around, about (2 possibilities) the lab.
5. The book is about dislocation theory.
6. The precision of the measurement is approximately +-0.001 Hz.
7. Please show our visitor about Europe.
7b. Please show our visitor around the labs.
(These last to distinguish the difference between "about" and "around".)
8. It's approximately 50cm in circumference.
9. It's 50 cm around.

The first law of Newton I sing
My voice has a relevant ring:
"An object left free
Of hassles will be
Engrossed in just doing its thing."

-E.H. Green

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Created May 12, 1998, by Nancy Burnham and Fred Hutson.