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Consider this sentence:

Who founded the Academy circa/around 387 BC?

Is "circa" the best word to write, or is it "around"?

Or does there exist another word that is more appropriate?

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I think this got ticked down because it's general reference, but I would argue that it's a fair question considering how specialized the word "circa" is. –  tylerharms Dec 15 '12 at 21:03
    
I submit that neither variant is likely at all. The whole part about the year adds nothing, and indeed suggests that you know the answer full well. If you have such accurate information about the year, certainly you have just as accurate information about the founder. In short, what people would actually ask instead is simply "who founded the Academy?" –  RegDwigнt Jul 8 at 10:04
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1 Answer 1

Circa is Latin, around is English. Latin words falute higher than English ones.

So the decision is yours. Are you going to maintain an elevated scholarly tone throughout? Consistency is part of that; once you elevate your prose, readers are more likely to notice when you fail to maintain it than if you're more informal.

Who are your readers and how do you want them to react? That's always the first question. An answer to that will determine many other things about what you write.

EDIT: It occurs to me ex post posting that in the case of the Academy, circa can only be a mark of high falution, because the Academy was founded in Greece, and never used Latin.

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I think that's the first time I've ever seen a verb form of highfalutin, but I'm quite taken with it. It's definitely a useful word for some contexts on ELU. –  FumbleFingers Dec 15 '12 at 18:54
    
I'll keep that in mind. Thank you! –  user31669 Dec 15 '12 at 20:08
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I think using "falute" is the definition of "to falute". –  tylerharms Dec 15 '12 at 21:00
    
It usually enhances the cromulence, that's true. –  John Lawler Dec 15 '12 at 21:18
    
@JohnLawler, Wow I didn't know we have a noun form for cromulent. –  Pacerier Jul 8 at 9:10
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