When it comes to numbers and amounts there’s a lot of different ways English speakers can be general. Often we need to be specific, like at work, so most of these are only used in casual situations. Here’s my step-by-step guide.

We use these for all numbers, like: price ($), time (hours/minutes), distance (kilometres, metres). But we can sometimes use them for other situations (like in the photo above). Today let’s focus on amounts and numbers.


This is the same as “more than”, including that whole number. We use this when we want to say that the number is higher than normal, average, or expected.

    • Example:
      My rent is over $1,000. It’s a lot more than I used to pay.
    • Example:
      The party last night was crazy. I think there over 50 people there.


Opposite of “over” – this means less than the whole number, but never more. This is usually used to express a deal, or an amount that is less than expected (often a good thing) – similar to “almost”.

  • Example:
    I think this cafe has the best coffee for under $2.
  • Example:
    I don’t often drink, and when I do I have under 3 drinks.


Around is like a combination on “over” and “under” – It can be slightly more, or slightly less. We often use “around” when the exact number is not important – for example a cup of coffee might cost $2.30, but we don’t really care about the $0.30. The $2 is much more important.

  • Example:
    My car cost around $20,000
  • Example:
    I work for around 8 hours a day. Sometimes more if we’re busy, sometime’s less if we’re not.


“Ish” is almost the same as “around”, but much more casual. It always goes after the amount (x-ish)

  • Example:
    I slept in today, so I’m going to be late for work. I’ll be there in 20 minutes-ish.
  • Example:
    Where can I get a good meal for $15 dollars-ish?


Lastly today we have nearly – this is similar to “under”, but it means very close to the whole amount. We can use it positive, as in it’s almost the perfect or ideal amount, or negatively, as in the amount it’s close to is too much.

  • Example:
    I got nearly 100% on my exam! That’s almost everything right!
  • Example:
    The meal I ordered said it would be $12, but after tax and tip it was nearly $20!

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