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In 1938, the group anchored just south of the North Pole. (From ACT test)

I am wondering why "about" cannot substitute for "just"? I think both make sense semantically.

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"Just south of the North Pole" means very close to it.

"About south of" would mean nearly, but not exactly south of the North Pole.
But everything in the world is exactly "south of the North Pole". There's nothing inexact about it, so that wouldn't say anything about how close they are.

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  • but the Oxford Dic gives the definition of "very close to" for about, so I think I am a bit confused Nov 9 '20 at 5:26
  • You could say "about at the North Pole" to mean very close to the North Pole, and then that definition would fit. You could also say "we are about south of New York", to mean we are somewhere close to south of it, though it might not be exactly south, for example, if it's south-southeast. But "about" doesn't work with the extreme position of the North Pole. Nov 9 '20 at 5:52

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