EN: about here, about 300 - preposition or adverb?


french- France
Hello everyone, I struggle with the word ‘about’. To be honest, I understand each definition /possible transitions of it. However, I do not understand its function: whether it’s an adverb or a proposition.

I know these definitions:
-adverb=completes verb, adjective and adver, generally there is nothing after within the clause.
-preposition= connects nouns with other nouns ;a noun or group of nouns with a clause; a clause with a clause.

In the sentence : ´She told me about your party’, about is a preposition, as it is followed by a noun.

In the sentence: ´try not to rush about´, about is an adverb, as it has no following noun.

These phrases are simple so it’s quite easy to understand.
However, according to an old book I bought,
´I left it about here’, about is a preposition. Why? Here is an adverb to me, so about should be one. I think.
’his parents worry about him’, about is a preposition. I would hesitate, and would like to pretend that both adverb or preposition can describe it, because about completes worry to me, even if there is an object complement.

The most complicated :
‘She has got about 300 movies’, about is an adverb (according to the book), whereas I don’t feel like it completes the verb much. Instead, it completes the Direct complement after it ´300 movies’ (which comprises nouns). So it should be a preposition to me.

´we shall meet at about seven o’clock’,about is an adverb, (according to the book). Why? It is followed by ´seven o clock’. It looks like a preposition to me.

´he’s just about ready’, about is an adverb, (according to the book). Even though, about completes ready (adjective) so about can be seen as an adverb, it seems that it completes the verb ´to be’ , which in french would imply that ´about’ is an adjective(attribute).
Could you help me understand, why these denominations (from the authors) occurred? And why mine are false?.

I would like to understand the process to use the word correctly. I understand the different definitions of the word but wouldn’t know how to use it myself in every case.

kind regards,
  • pointvirgule

    Senior Member
    langue française
    ´I left it about here’, about is a preposition. Why? Here is an adverb to me, so about should be one. I think.
    Bonjour. Je crois comprendre que :
    here est adverbe dans I left it here (où here = at this place),
    – mais c'est un nom dans I left it about here (où here = this place). (Voir ici.)
    Et comme un adverbe ne peut pas modifier un nom, about est forcément une préposition dans ce cas.

    Mais attendez les avis des experts.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English - England
    A bit of a problem with English is that not all words fit neatly into the "parts of speech" favoured by (traditional) grammarians. In my opinion:

    ´She told me about your party’ = preposition.
    ´try not to rush about´ = possibly adverb, but also arguably a particle if you consider "rush about" to be a phrasal verb.
    ´I left it about here’ = a bit of a tricky one as it can be argued that in this context "here" is a noun.
    ’his parents worry about him’ = either adverb or preposition depending on whether you consider "worry about" to be a phrasal verb.
    ’She has got about 300 movies’ and we shall meet at about seven o’clock’ = adverb as "about" means "approximately".
    ’he’s just about ready’ = adverb as "about" means "almost".