Can I write "I will be able to finish my work by the beginning of August circa."?

I know that I could write "I will be able to finish my work circa by the beginning of August.", I just prefer the first option and I just wanted to ask if it is permitted to write it that way.

  • Welcome to EL&U, Mandel. You don't need permission to write one way or another.
    – Centaurus
    Mar 15, 2019 at 18:21
  • @Centaurus Hence "can", not "may".
    – Rusty Core
    Mar 15, 2019 at 18:27
  • @RustyCore permitted, past tense of permit, give permission.
    – Centaurus
    Mar 15, 2019 at 18:34

2 Answers 2


The word circa is not typically used in that context. The Oxford Dictionary says



(often preceding a date) approximately.

‘the church was built circa 1860’

The sentence is clumsy in both versions and the use of circa seems pretentious. I suggest rewriting the sentence in one of these ways:

I will be able to finish my work by the beginning of August.

I will be able to finish my work some time around the beginning of August.

I will be able to finish my work in the first week of August.

  • +1 for good advice.
    – Centaurus
    Mar 15, 2019 at 18:47
  • OK thanks, that makes sense. Does "some time around the beginning of August" also have a pretentious touch to it?
    – mjbeyeler
    Mar 24, 2019 at 17:23
  • No, that's fine. The word circa is a Latin word and one must be careful to use such words in the right context! That was what did it. Mar 24, 2019 at 17:25

Circa is used when a time or date would otherwise appear as definitive or precise if not marked in some way that it is not what is intended; and usually circa is relegated to referencing the past...and is generally abbreviated "ca." and appears preceding the time or date.

In the context, "the beginning of August" referencing a future event relative to today, it wouldn't be read as definitive or precise generally.

If a precise time is asked for and this is sufficiently "precise," then to establish this as merely an estimate where that window should not be held absolute, "circa" is the incorrect word. Instead, "approximately," or "tentatively" would convey the proper meaning:

"I'll finish my work, approximately, by the beginning of August."


"I'll finish my work by the beginning of August, approximately."


*"Tentatively, I have planned to finish my work by the beginning of August."

It all depends on context for word choice; professionally, the choice of "Tentatively" is probably appropriate, especially if you are addressing an Advisor or a Supervisor directly.

Formalities aside, and if someone is requesting that information that doesn't really need to know for any reason, then I defer to Donnie Brasco:

"...'eyyy...you know...forget about it..."

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