Using Near

Near is a conjunction.

  • The station is quite near; it is only two minutes’ walk.
  • The summer holidays are drawing near.
  • He lives near by.

Near as a preposition

Near can be used with or without to. To is not normally used when we are talking about physical closeness.

  • Don’t go near the edge of the cliff, you may fall over it. (NOT Don’t go near to the edge —)

When we are not talking about physical closeness, near to is often preferred.

  • I came very near to hitting him. (NOT I came very near hitting him.)

Nearer and nearest are generally used with to, though to can be dropped in an informal style.

  • Come and sit nearer to me.
  • Who is the girl sitting nearest to the door?

Nearest vs. Next

Nearest means most near in space.

  • Excuse me. Where is the nearest hospital?

Next means coming immediately after, in space or in order.

  • I am first. Who is next?
  • Take the next turning to the right.
  • I am looking forward to her next visit.
  • When you have finished this, what are you going to do next?

Note that in a few fixed expressions, next is used to mean nearest in space.

  • Who lives next door?
  • Come and sit next to me.

Next and the next

Next week, next month etc are the week or month just after this one. If I am speaking in May, next month is June; if I am speaking in the year 2005, next year is 2006. Prepositions are not generally used before these time expressions.

  • Goodbye – see you next week. (NOT — the next week.)
  • I am spending next Christmas with my family.

The next

The next week means the period of seven days, starting at the moment of speaking.

  • I am going to be very busy for the next week. ( = the seven days starting today.)
  • I will be at college for the next three years.

Note that when there is no number, we say the next few days/weeks/months, not the next days/weeks/months.

  • The next few days are going to be wet. (NOT The next days —)
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Manjusha Nambiar

I am the founder and editor of http://www.perfectyourenglish.com, http://www.ielts-practice.org, and http://ncertguides.com

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