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  1. BobK's Avatar
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      • English
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      • UK
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    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,038
    #1

    Smile near / nearby - which to use when?

    Hello everybody,

    how do I know when to use near and nearby?

    Can I say It is near? or just It is nearby.

    Thank you very much!!!

    Hi teachers

    I had dinner at a [near/ nearby] restaurant.

    My dictionary says only "nearby" is correct in British English, but it seems to imply that "near" is also fine in North American English.
    Is that true??? Choosing "near" in this case sounds a little odd to me.

    Thank you

    OP

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    As an adjective near means close.

    near definition | Dictionary.com
    B-b-b-but a nearby restaurant is close.... Aha, I get it, 'close to X'. So a nearby restaurant is close to the speaker.

    b

    BobK:
    I've got 'nearby' ( as in that previous thread on 'near' versus 'nearby') but I'm still stuck on your previous point, that we can say 'near miss' 'a near thing' 'the near side of' and 'in the near future' but NOT 'a near restaurant'.
    I thought I was on to something in that in 'near miss' for example, it has the sense of 'almost' rather than 'distance' but that soon collapsed.

    Still bashing my brains and splashing neurons over the grammar books as I search for an answer.
    Last edited by Anglika; 09-Mar-2009 at 23:09. Reason: too many threads to follow


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #2

    Re: Please!

    To keep it simple:
    'near' means 'close' in the sense of not a long distance away.

    'nearby' means 'close'' in the sense of handy, convenient.

    I am staying with a friend in a town I have not visited before. I could say to my friend:
    I have to buy some tablets. Is there a chemist near here?" (near where he lives, where I am staying.) that is, not far from the house.
    or
    I have to buy some tablets. Is there a chemist nearby? ( handy to where you live because I don't want to ask you to drive me half way across town to the nearest chemist.)

    "The first day of my visit, we walked to a nearby pub for lunch." That is, the pub is handy to his home if he wants to slip down for a drink, or a meal.
    The pub is handy, because it is near his home. That is, not far from where he lives.

    He's bought a house in a lovely village. It has a huge garden, and there's a river nearby for swimming and boating.
    That is, 'handy' for recreational purposes.

    compare:

    We've bought a house in a lovely village. It's near a school, so the children don't have to take a bus anymore. That is, the school is not far from the house.
    or
    "There's a school nearby, so the children don't have to travel far." That is, handy to where they live.

    Can you see that 'near' is used when you are thinking how close or far something is.
    'nearby' is used when you are considering whether a place is handy or convenient for you to get to. A shopping centre could be 5 miles away, but if you live next to a motorway, and the supermarket is also just off the motorway, then at 70 m.p.h , it is a matter of minutes away - very handy - whereas 5 miles across a town with heavy traffic and with traffic lights on every corner ...well, it may near, but it's not nearly as convenient if it takes 2 or 3 times as long to reach.
    Last edited by David L.; 26-Feb-2009 at 21:04.


    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 150
    #3

    Smile Re: Please!

    And when I have a sentence: A family who lived nearby were called... Why nearby and not near?

    Thank you!


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #4

    Re: Please!

    You could use either. Look, though, at the forms they would take:

    A family who lived nearby was called... 'nearby' meaning close at hand; they were convenient to call because they were handy to their house, close by.

    A family who lived near to them was called...


    Note that 'family' is singular and takes a singular verb.


    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 150
    #5

    Smile Re: Please!

    That's interesting that you corrected were to was, because I took this sentence from an English textbook...!


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #6

    Re: Please!

    When some people think of 'family' they think of the several people who make up a 'family', and hence, think that it requires a plural verb.
    'family' is singular, 'families' is plural.
    Think about it:
    We can't say, 'a family are the cornerstone of the nation.'? 'a' is the indefinite article used before a noun in the singular.


    "This Christmas, (no article) families are gathering all over Britain to ..."
    Last edited by David L.; 26-Feb-2009 at 23:58.

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