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# Approximate

Sun 18 Jul, 2004 06:34 pm
Let me set up a situation. Let's say I'm psychic, but not very good. My brother can predict the future much better than me.

So someone comes to me and I get this impression that they will be in a car accident. I can give them the approximate time it will happen, but that isn't good enough. They want to know the EXACT time so they know not to be driving then. So I refer them to my brother.

Would I inform them that he is capable of giving them a more approximate time, or a less approximate time?

In other words, does the usage of approximate focus on the inaccuracy of my guess in relation to an exact time, therefor a less approximate time would be more exact.

Or does the definition focus on the relative accuracy in spite of not being exact, and therefor a more approximate guess would be more exact.

I would settle on a third option, that "approximate" should not be used with comparative terms.

This sort of phrase comes up a lot in my work, and I always say "That time is only approximate, if you call back in a week I can give you a more approximate time." And then I pause and think my grammar sounded a little weird.

Thoughts?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 392 • Replies: 9
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1
Sun 18 Jul, 2004 06:36 pm
Hmmmm. Were you out in the sun all day today over at Clearwater Beach?
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1
Sun 18 Jul, 2004 07:32 pm
Nobody likes a smart ass...Never mind
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fishin

1
Sun 18 Jul, 2004 08:43 pm
You could say that your brother can give tham a "narrower approximation" of the time.

"Approximate" is simply "about" - an estimated time with a built in tolerance variable. You are capable of an estimate that is say.. within 2 days +/-. Your brother's is capable of giving and estimate that is within 1 day +/-. He has narrower tolerances than you do. *shrugs*
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SCoates

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Sun 18 Jul, 2004 09:13 pm
So, Fishin', you wouldn't say "more approximate"?
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gustavratzenhofer

1
Sun 18 Jul, 2004 09:18 pm
Scoates, can you give me an approximation of the time this thread will mercifully end?

More or less.
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SCoates

1
Sun 18 Jul, 2004 09:20 pm
No, Gus, I would have to refer you to my brother.
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fishin

1
Mon 19 Jul, 2004 06:39 am
SCoates wrote:
So, Fishin', you wouldn't say "more approximate"?

I can't think of any time I'd use the words "more approximate" or "less approximate".
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limbodog

1
Tue 27 Jul, 2004 01:29 pm
Based on what I see in the dictionary where 'approximate' means 'close to' or 'almost exact' I would say that your brother could render a more approximate answer.

I would also suggest that you eschew obfuscation. The meaning of the sentance might not be well understood.
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Craven de Kere

1
Tue 27 Jul, 2004 01:49 pm
In your use more proximate might work but not more approximate.
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