What is the difference/when do I use "so gegen", "ungefähr", "etwa", and "circa"?
Jan 21, 2017 7:50 PM
Answers · 7
Hi Zachary, I would mostly agree with Jessica but maybe with one exception: „so gegen“ does not necessarily mean anything else than the other three expressions (ungefähr, etwa, circa). That is true at least in the area of Germany where I live (Saxonia, Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt). Another thing to mention is that “so gegen” can only be used in a context with time whereas the other three expressions could also be used when it comes to things like places or even to some abstract issues (to a certain extent at least). With respect to the issue of formality, maybe the most formal expression might be “circa”. I have seen it in some academic books or research articles quite often but it is – in my opinion at least – in such a context not the best choice and should be replaced with some more “academic” expressions. Best regards, Paul
January 22, 2017
Hi Zachary, Ungefähr, etwa, and circa all mean the same, they are interchangeable. In my opinion, the only difference is that "etwa" sounds a bit too colloquial to be used in a very professional context (like a scientific research report or so). But that doesn't mean that the other two are very formal, you could use all three of them in any normal conversation. "so gegen" has a similar meaning, but is only used when talking about time. It means "at around", as in "wir treffen uns so gegen zwei" = "we are meeting at around two". But while "around" could mean a few minutes before or after two, "gegen" literally means "against", so it indicates that you will meet no later than two, but possibly a bit earlier. Hope this helps :) Liebe Grüße, Jessica
January 22, 2017
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