Precision in vagueness. The semantics of English 'approximatives'

Anna Wierzbicka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, the author explicates a number of English 'approximatives' such as around, about, approximately, roughly, at least, at the most, almost and nearly. In each case, she offers a paraphrase substitutable for the particle itself. She argues against a 'radically pragmatic' approach to particles, advocated by Sadock and others, and advocates an alternative, 'radically semantic' account. She tries to show that even the vaguest 'hedges' and 'approximatives' can be given rigorous semantic explications, which correctly account for the particles' use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-613
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1986


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