Meaning of "pretty much"

OscarP es Spain
Hi!

It's not clear for me the meaning of "pretty much". For Example:

His homework was pretty much finished.

I looked up it, but I got two meanings:
-Almost, nearly, approximately
-To some degree.

Can anyone help me about it?

Thanks.


February 2010
  • dooo ca Canada
    approximately

    Used in spoken or informal written English
    February 2010
  • dooo ca Canada
    "pretty much" is similar but not the same as "pretty good" or "pretty hard" in the above definition because you could not take out the the "pretty" in a "pretty much" phrase and still have a good sentence.

    In other words,

    "His homework was pretty much finished. " is ok, but "His homework was much finished. " is not ok.

    On the other hand
    "Her work was pretty good." and "Her work was good. " are both ok.

    "pretty much" is a set phrase on its own.
    February 2010
  • jeff_lindqvist se Sweden
    Of course, you're right. I just wanted to add the other usage.
    February 2010
  • Alex2008gut ru Russian Federation
    The meaning of "pretty good" depends on intonation, is it not? And of "pretty much" too?
    February 2010
  • dooo ca Canada
    All adjectives and other types of modifiers can vary their meaning according to intonation. This is nothing new. However there is usually a basic meaning that you presume to be true without any other evidence to the contrary. In the case of "pretty much" the meaning is "approximately" or "more or less"
    February 2010
  • Vencer us United States
    Pretty much - Almost, approximately

    In Spanish I think the term "bastante,' is used in this way.
    For example;
    Pretty Easy - Bastante Facil
    Pretty Difficult - Bastante dificil

    Interesting that I just used the term, "pretty much" in my last post, so we use it often, at least here in the states.
    March 2010