8 alternatives to “approximately”

If we want to say that a number, quantity, time or price is ‘quite accurate but not exact’, we have several options in English.

The most formal way of expressing ‘not exactly’ is approximately; the most common in spoken English is about.

Here’s a list of eight words and phrases that we can use, with example sentences:

 8 ways of saying approximately in English

  • A coffee costs about $3.
  • How much will it cost, more or less?
  • He earns somewhere in the region of 30K.
  • Inflation is roughly 3%.
  • She’s fifty or thereabouts.
  • I’ll be there round about three o’clock.
  • It’s not far – 20km or so.
  • Today’s flight will take approximately two hours.
Stuart is an English teacher and runs the Speakspeak website. He currently lives in Prague and has been teaching for over 20 years. Follow Stuart and contact him by subscribing to his monthly newsletter.


  1. Benazir - February 19, 2013, 1:25 pm Reply

    Thanks alot for sending me many things for solving my questions and now I need the conditional types123 . Thanks

  2. Rey Hudson - April 26, 2016, 2:18 pm Reply

    Hi, Stuart,

    While I was writing your “approximations” on the board, I flashed on two more: As “in the region of” we also sometimes say “the neighborhood of”. Also, being (at least phonetically and grammatically) native American (No, not THAT kind!)… but long since removed, I often hear and see simply “Well, BALLPARK, 30,000 dollars

  3. Vera Canazio - March 22, 2018, 11:36 am Reply

    I will state my comment in a different way. I have found this page useful, unusual and very intersting,

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