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In my impression, there is one word means the time is almost exactly, like "almost exactly 1 hour".

It is less precise than exactly. (Is "punctually one hour" a right term?)

But more accurate than about 1 hour. (How to say "about one hour"? 1-hour-ish?)

  • Your suggestion "punctually one hour" I think is fine, if the context is completion of something rather than merely the length of time. So for a professor lecturing, remarking that "His lectures were punctually one hour." I find succinct and descriptive. – Pieter Geerkens Aug 18 '13 at 6:06
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    "Punctually one hour" is non-standard and will be taken askance. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Aug 18 '13 at 6:15
  • I've never heard "punctually one hour". Punctually is more commonly used to refer to a precise time, or to time-keeping; e.g. "The bus usually arrives punctually at 10.14 a.m."; or "Was he punctual today?" – TrevorD Aug 18 '13 at 12:43
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    I can't think of a single word. I'd probably use "almost exactly" or "almost precisely". One might say "close to an hour". "About an hour" can be very vague. – TrevorD Aug 18 '13 at 12:46
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    "One hour". "Exactly one hour" has little meaning in real life. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 18 '13 at 13:15
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The customary, normal, and most common way to say about one hour in a way to make it more close to exactly one hour is to say just about one hour.

That’s because just here modifies about in a way to make it more precise or more exact, closer to exactly that rather than only loosely or approximately that.

So saying “I’ll be there in just about an hour works to say that I will be there in very close to one exact hour.

You could even say just about one hour exactly, but that’s not really necessary here. The just about suffices.

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In my regional dialect, you could say "we'll meet here in nigh on an hour." It means "roughly an hour" or "nearly an hour", with the connotation of within a few minutes of exactly an hour, inclusive of exactly an hour.

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“Punctually one hour” is non-standard; it has an adverb improperly followed by a noun phrase. “Punctually in one hour” and “one hour, punctually” are acceptable alternatives in some cases. For example, “They collect the papers punctually, after an hour goes by” or “They deliver the photos in one hour, punctually”.

The usual sense of punctually is “In a punctual manner; on time”. Note, punctually also has an archaic sense, “precisely; exactly; minutely”, by which it could substitute for precisely or exactly. And conversely, precisely or exactly can be substituted for punctually in the examples above with little change in meaning.

The adverb minutely, on the other hand, cannot so substitute, due to its senses “With attention to tiny details” and “On a minute [tiny] scale”. The adjective minutely also cannot substitute; it means “Happening every minute; continuing; unceasing”.

  • Good artistic style is about knowing the right moment to do the wrong thing, to borrow from Edward G. Robinson at the end of Cincinnati Kid. – Pieter Geerkens Aug 18 '13 at 16:07
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    @PieterGeerkens, perhaps; but in any case, the right moment to use “punctually one hour” has not arrived so far, and perhaps never will. Although simple variations like “His lectures were punctually an hour long” may serve. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Aug 18 '13 at 16:11
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"Almost" and "exactly" are contradictory. If something is "almost", it cannot be "exactly", and vice versa.

In spoken English, I would say "In just about a hour". I assume you mean to say "as close to an hour as possible" (which is too wordy).

You could say something like "Let's meet in 60 minutes", which sounds a bit odd, but says that you don't mean "somewhere around an hour" - which could mean different things to different people.

This is one of those things that depends on the context.

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