She's been pregnant [for] about/around 5 weeks.

Which one is more preferable and more commonly used in the sentence above?

For me, both are interchangeable. But I can't articulate why. It feels like both can be used along with an amount of time with little difference in meaning.

Based on my research, both can be used with a number or quantity with the meaning: approximately, so there may not be any nuance of meaning. Therefore, I think I am correct they can be used interchangeably and I also suppose there is no considerable difference in register too.

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to ELL! I retagged your question, removing the "prepositions" tag because the consensus has "about/around" pegged as adverbs as opposed to prepositions, see this discussion please.
    – Eddie Kal
    Commented Nov 26, 2020 at 20:49
  • 1
    Also related: “About” vs. “around”
    – Eddie Kal
    Commented Nov 26, 2020 at 20:54

1 Answer 1


It is more natural for people to associate "around" with the physical location of something (usually in 2- or 3-D).

People will associate "about" with locations, too, but that is not common.

"About" is applicable to 1-D --- which time is frequently thought of as.


  • "About" is better.
  • They both refer to uncertainty.


When one hears "round", they think "circle" or "sphere". Circles don't really exist on a number line. So they don't really exist within time (a 1-D mindset), either.

That's why it sounds weird.

"About", on the other hand, doesn't carry a dimension. This property leads to its fitting application in the time mindset.

  • 1
    I would consider it perfectly idiomatic to use around in this context, the sense being 'perhaps a little less or a little more than five weeks', as though there were a circle with 'exactly five weeks' as its centre. Commented Nov 27, 2020 at 9:09

You must log in to answer this question.