1. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    'at about' vs. 'about'

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by dillseed, May 19, 2014.

    Is it grammatically incorrect to use 'at about,' as in 'The incident occurred at about 10 p.m.'

    To me, 'at' means at a definite time; 'about' means around a certain time (approximately).

    Please meet me about 6:30.
    (Means somewhere around 6:30—give or take a few minutes either way.)

    Please meet me at 6:30.
    (Means at 6:30 on the dot.)

    But one could argue that 'Please meet me about 6:30' could mean that you're meeting me about (concerning) 6:30 itself.

    So are the expressions 'at about 6:30' and 'at around 6:30' correct or redundant? Would you use 'at about' and 'at around' in your writing?

    That said, are these correct (or should I use 'at' before 'about/around')?

    The incident occurred about 4:20 p.m.

    About 6 p.m. the incident occurred.

    The incident occurred around 2:40 a.m.

    Around 2:40 a.m. the incident occurred.

    Thanks. :)
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I use "at about." I sometimes use "at" before "around," and sometimes I don't. Just a personal preference for the latter case. For the former case, I feel like the "at" is required. To be fair, I don't know of many people who want to talk about a particular time itself because that's an odd conversation to have, so you could get away with not having the "at" before "about" and people would understand.
     
  3. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Thank you.
     

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