Student or Learner
There had been so many wrong numbers that morning that I nearly didn't bother to answer the phone when Carl called.
This sentence comes from Martin Hewings' ADVANCED GRAMMAR IN USE (2004 edition, CD-ROM).
I wonder if we could replace 'nearly didn't' with 'almost didn't' in this sentence.
I was hoping native English teachers could help me with this question. Thank you very much.
In this context they mean exactly the same.
If there is a difference, "almost" might be about 1% more formal.
I nearly fell down.
I almost fell down.
I was awake nearly all night.
I was awake almost all night.
He is nearly 80 years old.
He is almost 80 years old.
I'm nearly finished this posting.
I'm almost finished this posting.