1. Students in Korea start dating around their 14th birthday.

  2. Students in Korea start dating at around their 14th birthday.

What is the difference between the two sentences?

Is there any problem in the sentence above? (in sentence No 1, No 2) Ant, what is the meaning of 'at' in the sentence no. 2?

  • 1
    'At around' here means something like 'around the time when they reach'. So there's deletion involved whichever option (of the two you offer) you choose. In my experience, Brits tend to prefer including prepositions (at around the time ...; on Thursday; in early March) in temporal adverbials, while our transatlantic cousins drop them far more frequently. Neither choice is usually more correct. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 4 '15 at 9:14
  • A different verb might lead to confusion in meaning. e.g. replace dating with dancing. – ottodidakt Feb 4 '15 at 9:22
  • Related to this (closed) question english.stackexchange.com/questions/8080/im-free-at-around-7pm – tylerharms Feb 4 '15 at 9:25

I don't think there's much difference between these two sentences.

Sometimes at around is used when around by itself would be ambiguous -- it could be interpreted as referring to an approximate time/place or to something surrounding something else. But there's no such ambiguity here, so either form is understanable.

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