Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is it correct to say "I'll reach there in about 5 minutes?" Is "in about" correct in this sentence?

share|improve this question
2  
Native speakers are more likely to say: "I'll get there ... " or "I'll be there ... " than "I'll reach there ... ". –  Shoe Mar 31 '13 at 10:21
    
@Shoe +1 That's right, and you beat me to it! –  John M. Landsberg Mar 31 '13 at 10:40
add comment

1 Answer

This is perfectly fine. I suspect you might be confused because you are seeing "in about" as a linkage of two contradictory prepositions, meaning something like "inside outside." But those aren't the meanings here. See it this way instead: "in" is used to indicate a period of time ("5 minutes"), and "about" in this case means "approximately." So the sentence is, "The period of time it will take me to reach there will be approximately 5 minutes."

share|improve this answer
1  
Yes, about modifies five minutes and is a quantifier modifier here rather than a preposition. Good sleuthing, John - I hadn't thought of the 'contradictory prepositions' false trail. –  Edwin Ashworth Mar 31 '13 at 15:35
1  
Yes, the intended parse is the normal right-branching [in [about [five minutes]]], rather than the much less common structure [[in about] [five minutes]]. The most important thing in grammar is to recognize Constituents, because grammatical rules apply only to constituents. –  John Lawler Mar 31 '13 at 17:34
    
@EdwinAshworth Thanks, Edwin!I appreciate the compliment. –  John M. Landsberg Apr 1 '13 at 2:05
    
@JohnLawler Thanks, John. I have to say, I am genuinely delighted to have assent from you at any time, because your knowledge of this field is astounding and fascinating. –  John M. Landsberg Apr 1 '13 at 2:06
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.