Different uses of ‘ABOUT’ in English

In this Basic English lesson, you will learn how the word ‘about’ is used in different ways. Watch our Free English lessons to improve your English speaking and speak fluent English with confidence.

Be about something

Used for saying what the most basic or important aspect of something.

  • Example: Loving is all about giving. (= The most important aspect of loving is giving.)
  • Example: Communication is all about getting your message across.

Be about to do something

When you are about to do something, you are going to do it very soon.

  • Example: I was about to go to bed when someone knocked on the door.
  • Example: She arrived just as I was about to leave for work.

Be quick about it

Be quick in the way you do something.

Be slow about it means to be slow in the way you do something.

  • Example: Bring me that file and be quick about it. (= Bring it fast.)
  • Example: Clean up this mess and be quick about it.
  • Example: Our lawmakers are discussing the merits and demerits of this project, but they are being very slow about it.

Do something/nothing / anything about something

  • Example: Are you going to do anything about that letter from the tax people?
  • Example: Our lawmakers know that the system isn’t working, but they do nothing about it.

While you’re about it

Used when telling someone to do something at the same time as they are doing something else

  • Example: Buy some fish from the market, and you can take these clothes to the laundry while you are about it.


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