About As A Preposition

The preposition about has several uses.

To indicate movement or position

About indicates movement or position in various directions and places.

  • We walked about the old city.
  • The princes went riding about the country.
  • Children were running about everywhere.
  • Men were standing about the street corners.

To mean ‘near to’

About can mean ‘near to.’

  • They are living somewhere about here.

To mean approximately

About can mean a little more or less, a little before or after and similar ideas.

  • She is about 10 year old.
  • It is about 5 o’ clock.

How about, what about

How about and what about are used to seek an opinion and/or propose a plan.

  • How about having a drink? (Propose a plan.)
  • He is a handsome fellow, but what about his character? (Seeks an opinion.)

About and On

About and on can both mean in connection with. However, there is a slight difference between them.


  • This is a book on African history.
  • This is a book for children about the festivals of India.

On used in the first sentence suggests that the book is serious or academic. It fits specialists. About used in the second sentence suggests that the book only gives some information.

  • This is a movie on the life of Gautam Buddha. (A serious work on his life)
  • This is a movie about Gautam Buddha. (Only gives some information about him)

About to

About to means on the point of doing something.

  • We were about to go to bed when the telephone rang.
  • The show was about to start when the lights went out.

Not about to can mean unwilling to.

  • I am not about to lend him my car.

See Also

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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