(a)round and about

  • We usually use round for movement or position in a circle, or in a curve.
      We all sat round the table.
      I walked round the car and looked at the whe ‘Where do you live?’ ‘Just round the corner. ‘
  • We also use round when we talk about going to all (or most) parts of a place, or giving things to everybody in a group.
      We walked round the old part of the town.
      Can I look round?
      Could you pass the cups round, please?
  • We use around or about to express movements or positions that are not very clear or definite: ‘here and there’, ‘in lots of places’, ‘in different parts of/somewhere near’ and similar ideas.
      The children were running around/about everywhere.
      Stop standing around/about and do some work.
      ‘Where’s John?’ ‘Somewhere around/about’

    We also use these words to talk about time-wasting or silly activity.

      Stop fooling around/about We’re late.

    And around/about can mean ‘approximately’, ‘not exactly’.

      There were around/about fifty people there.
      ‘What time shall I come?’ Around/about eight. ‘