Vocabulary: Approximate numbers

Vocabulary: approximate numbers
Intermediate to advanced level (B1-C1)

When we communicate, we often want to use words or expressions that are approximate. This is common when we have to talk about numbers. This might be because we don’t know the exact numbers or amounts or because we don’t want to give them. Here are some of these words and expressions:

roughly (be careful with pronunciation)
in the region of (a little formal)
in the area of
more or less
give or take
not far off
close to
approximately (a little formal)

Let’s see these words and expressions in context (note how you can use modal verbs):

Question: How much money do you think he earns?

Possible answers:

He must be earning roughly thirty thousand pounds. (‘Roughly’ is pronounced like enough.)

I think he earns in the region/area of thirty thousand pounds.

I think he earns close to/nearly/about/around/not far off/around/approximately thirty thousand pounds.

I think he earns thirty thousand pounds, more or less. or
I think he earns more or less thirty thousand pounds.


Question: How old do you think she is?

Possible answers:

She looks about 25.

She looks roughly 25.

She looks close to 25.

She can’t be far off 25.

She’s looks approximately 25.

She can’t be much more than 25.

She must be 25, more or less.

I would say about 25.


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