1. write a paragraph of about 150 words on the following topics
  2. Write a paragraph in about 150 words on the following topics

which sentence given above is correct?


I must disagree with Jacc734. While both are probably possible I would say that "of" is more usual in this context. Google n-grams come up with about 3 times more results for "of about 150 words" as opposed to "in about 150 words" and find no examples of "paragraph in about 150 words" but a (small) number of "paragraph of about 150 words". The same situation is when you drop "about".

When I try to think of ways to use "in" in this situation I keep coming up with either limiting duration or shifting the meaning to inside e.g.

Write a paragraph in 10 minutes.

Explain your position in at most 150 words.

Explain your position in the words of Lord Gordon Byron.

Write a paragraph in about 150 words on the following topics

'In' is correct, because it denotes a limit. 'Of' suggests you want them to use a specific topic or a particular 150 words, in context of this particular senctence that does not make sense.

  • I disagree completely. Agree with DRF. – Colin Fine Jul 7 '15 at 8:01

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