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ell.stackexchange.com:
(1) 35 mile ish commutes
Such placement of "ish" isn't clear to me.
Why is it grammatical to place "ish" after "mile"?
What does (1) mean?

my variant:
(2) 35ish mile commutes
What's the difference between (1) and (2)?

2
  • As the linked question already notes, "-ish" is informal, especially as a suffix on numbers. Asking why it is grammatical shows a misunderstanding. Formal grammar rules are routinely ignored in informal speech, that's part of what makes it informal.
    – MSalters
    Dec 28, 2023 at 12:51
  • @MSalters Obviously not all informal speech ignores grammar rules. Your sentence “Asking why it is grammatical shows a misunderstanding” unfairly blames me that I’m supposed to know what obeys the rules and what does not.
    – Loviii
    Dec 28, 2023 at 15:14

2 Answers 2

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In general avoid "ish" in any semiformal context. You can always rephrase to "about".

So you should assume that any use of "ish" is casual and unrehearsed. This means that whatever you are told is the true meaning, there will be people who use it differently, either in error, or just because there is variation in use.

Given how causal this is, I would accept "thirty-five miles-ish" as an alternative to "thirty-five-ish miles". It forms an adjective-like word from a the phrase. But I'd prefer "about thirty-five miles" in nearly every situation.

The only time I'd use -ish is in an unrehearsed answer to a question Here is how my mind might work.

How far is it to London?

35 miles ... {think, that's not an exact value, because London is a big place and I haven't measured it, better indicate that the value is approximate} ... -ish

-1

The phrase "35 mile" is an adjectival phrase. Otherwise it would be written "35 miles". It would be more clearly written hyphenated as "35-mile"

Because the phrase is a unit, it is best not to split it.

Examples

A ten-meter rod, not a ten metre-rod.

A 5-gram weight, not a 5 gram-weight.

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