Can ぐらい be used to replace ごろ?

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A question from my N5 mock test book reads:

A 「何{なん}時{じ}に　うちへ　帰{かえ}りますか。」

B 「７時{じ}　(　　　　)　帰{かえ}ります。」

１　ごろ　　２　じゅう　　３　まで　　４　ぐらい

The answer was 1, but I've been taught that both ごろ and ぐらい are interchangeable when talking about points in time (時刻), like 7時 or ４月.

Is ぐらい really acceptable when ごろ should be used?

(Note: I am of the impression that ぐらい and くらい mean the same, and so do ごろ and ころ.)

1ぐらい and くらい mean the same, and so do ごろ and ころ -> Both 7時らい and 7時らい are used, 7時ろ is fine, but you don't say７じろ. ---- Don't ask my why :D – Chocolate – 2017-01-07T06:25:03.413

Hm... when do we use ころ then? :) – rhyaeris – 2017-01-07T06:27:20.350

「子供のころ(に)…」とか「花が咲くころ(に)...」とか。Oh so it's voiced when used as a suffix, and unvoiced when used as a noun, right? – Chocolate – 2017-01-07T06:28:37.830

hm... so i guess ころ is not used in the same way as ごろ with times and dates, perhaps. thanks! – rhyaeris – 2017-01-07T06:31:10.913

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A 「​[何​時]{なんじ} ​に　うちへ　​帰 {かえ} ​りますか。」

B 「７​時 {じ} ​　(　　　　)　​帰 {かえ} ​ります。」

１　ごろ　　２　じゅう　　３　まで　　４　ぐらい

The only possible answer is 1) ごろ.

Had the fourth choice been 「ぐらい」 instead of just 「ぐらい」, it would also have been a correct answer. Not sure where you have been taught it was correct to say 「～時ぐらい帰る」, because it is not.

So, to say "to return home around 7-ish", you can use:

「ごろ」, 「ごろに」 and 「ぐらいに」.

But you cannot use 「ぐらい」. In other words, 「～時ごろ」 can function adverbially to modify the verb 「帰る」 without a 「に」. 「～時ぐらい」 cannot; It needs a 「に」 to function adverbially.

The following usage of 「ぐらい」, however, is correct.

A 「家に帰るの、いつも何時ぐらい？」

B 「７時ぐらい。」

This is OK because there is no verb following in either line. You don't need an adverbial phrase here.

3As an addition, まで is eliminated for the same reason, too. Only 7時まで帰ります is acceptable. – broccoli forest – 2017-01-07T06:40:28.763