0

I'd like to find out when we can use "-ish" with numbers.

Am I right that we can add "-ish" to a number when we want to say an approximate number of something/someone?

For example:
zeroish, oneish, twoish, threeish, fourish, fiveish, sixish, sevenish, eightish, nineish, tenish, elevenish, twelveish, thirteenish, fourteenish, fifteenish, ..., twentyish, twenty oneish, ..., thirtyish, ..., one hundred and fifty sevenish, ..., a thousandish, ..., a millionish, ...

6
  • 2
    What kind of answer are you looking for? Obviously "one hundred and fifty sevenish" is semantic / numeric nonsense, but syntactically it's fine. For more "plausible" values, such as twenty oneish, you can find your own examples, and decide for yourself whether to say "twelvish" or "about twelve". Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 22:07
  • 2
    ish adverb Informal 1) (used to modify or moderate something previously stated or as a vague reply to a question) somewhat; in a way; not exactly: It's a decent (ish) place to work.“Are you tired?” “Yeah...ish.”I'd like to get married. Ish. 2) near or about; approximately: The lights went out at 11-ish.It'll be a $25ish taxi ride. Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 22:13
  • 1
    A dozenish, a kilo[-]ish, 35 mile ish commutes... it;s informal. You can add it and expect to be understood. Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 23:02
  • 3
    Does this answer your question? What does the same-ish mean? Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 23:44
  • 1
    @MichaelHarvey: That's good enough for me! Particularly because the answer there even includes the same numeric value (twelvish) as my first comment! Which same value is in the Q here as well. It's a dup. Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 23:47

1 Answer 1

3

"Oneish" etc are VERY informal words. They are only used in the most casual of conversations. They are rarely used at all, and almost never with a number that takes more than one word. Like someone might say "oneish", "twoish", "tenish", "twelveish", or "twentyish". But they would almost never say "thirty-twoish" or "one thousand three hundred ninety-sevenish". And in any case, the whole point of tacking on the "ish" is that you mean "approximately". You might say "approximately ten", but it would be silly to say "approximately one hundred twenty-eight". You might say "approximately one hundred", but "one hundred twenty-eight" is too specific a number to make sense in that context.

As -ish is very informal, it's difficult to say what the rules for its use are. "Thousandish" is possible but I don't recall ever hearing anyone say it. It's rarely if ever used for number more than maybe a hundred.

5
  • Actually, I doubt that anyone would use '-ish' with very small numbers, because it's easy to see whether there are one, two or three items, and anyway we have expressions like 'a few'. Commented Dec 22, 2023 at 9:17
  • Is it correct to say "thousandish" or "millionish"?
    – Loviii
    Commented Dec 22, 2023 at 10:18
  • @KateBunting I suppose it depends on context. If someone asked, "How many widgets are in the box?", "Threeish" would be an unlikely reply. If you're looking at them you could presumably see whether it is two or three or four. But if someone asked, "How many nails do I need to hold this together?", someone might say "threeish".
    – Jay
    Commented Dec 25, 2023 at 9:35
  • 1
    @Loviii I'd say yes ... but I don't recall ever having heard someone say that. They're more likely to say "about a thousand" or "a million or so", etc.
    – Jay
    Commented Dec 25, 2023 at 9:36
  • Could you please add your comment about "a thousandish" and "a milliondish" into your answer. It's a very important part.
    – Loviii
    Commented Dec 25, 2023 at 9:53

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .