What's the difference among these words when we talk about approximate numbers? If I say "almost 3,000 people", "nearly 3,000 people", or "about 3,000 people", can they refer to a number that is just more than 3,000?

  • did you check a dictionary?
    – gotube
    Jul 20 at 3:45

Only "about 3000 people" can refer to more than 3000. "Almost" and "nearly" both mean close to but not yet reaching the number specified. Note that they can be used going down instead of up, depending on the context—but they still mean "not reaching or going beyond the specified number."

I would say that "almost 3000" is not as close to 3000 as "nearly 3000," but that distinction is my personal feeling, not set in stone.

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