root: ف-ر-ق / noun / plural: فُروق / definition: difference
Two small words, carrying the same meaning but differing in grammar: حَوالَي and تَقريباً. So what’s the difference… and why does it matter?
Both حوالي—also spelt حوالى—and تقريباً are amongst the most common words for “approximately”/”roughly” (another synonym can be found in Wehr Wednesdays #35).
However, they are in different grammatical classes which affects where they are placed relative to the number/phrase that they are referring to. Here’s the breakdown:
word type: preposition
position: comes before the number
قَطَعْتُ حَوالَي 9 أمْيال مَشْياً على الأقدام
I covered approximately 9 miles on foot
- as حوالي is a preposition, remember that the following word/number must always be مجرور
word type: adverb
position: comes after the number
دَرَسَت لِمُدّة 4 ساعات تقريباً
she studied for approximately 4 hours
- the word تقريباً is simply the adverbial form of the مصدر from the form II verb— قرّب / يُقرِّب / التقريب means “to approximate”
Simple as that!
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