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    #1

    Open memo to BobK re "a near restaurant'

    In a recent thread by optimistic pessimist, you made an intriguing observation, summarized below, with my attempt to grasp the 'why'.

    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.


    When I reach a dead end in my mind, I have no hesitation in going right to the top. I therefore contacted John Hawkins, Professor of Linguistics, for help. He has kindly emailed the following:

    Thank you for your query re "near" versus "nearby" as adjectives modifying nouns. Just off the top of my head (I don't have time to research it at the moment, I'm afraid) I would say that "near" has a semantics that corresponds to the degree adverb "nearly", i.e. it has the meaning of 'almost' or 'not quite'. So "I nearly missed the target" corresponds to "a near miss", "I nearly had an accident" corresponds to "a near accident", and so on. "Nearby" is a genuine locative referring to the place of something. I.e. "I know of a restaurant nearby" with an adverb corresponds to "a nearby restaurant" with an adjective. One would not say *"a near restaurant", therefore, because the semantics that is intended here would normally be the locative meaning (involving where the restaurant is) rather than the degree meaning of 'almost'. Hope this helps.

    All the best,
    John Hawkins,
    Professor of English and Applied Linguistics, University of Cambridge
    Professor of Linguistics, University of California Davis


    I guess one could say, I almost had the answer. I should have trusted myself more.
    Last edited by David L.; 08-Mar-2009 at 10:59.

  1. RonBee's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Open memo to BobK re "a near restaurant'

    There is a restaurant nearby, but we never go there.


  2. heidita's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Open memo to BobK re "a near restaurant'

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    There is a restaurant nearby, but we never go there.

    hmmm

    I wonder if this could be a good example of : We all enjoy our moment of glory in life?


    I am still wondering about your sentence though: why would you never go there? Because it is too close and you don't want to meet people there? Because it is not as nearby as others? Because you don't like going to restaurants?

    hmmmm Intriguing.....

  3. RonBee's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Open memo to BobK re "a near restaurant'

    Quote Originally Posted by heidita View Post
    hmmm

    I wonder if this could be a good example of : We all enjoy our moment of glory in life?


    I am still wondering about your sentence though: why would you never go there? Because it is too close and you don't want to meet people there? Because it is not as nearby as others? Because you don't like going to restaurants?

    hmmmm Intriguing.....
    It's not the restaurant. (This is totally off-topic.) My wife doesn't get out very often. I do go to the Taco Bell (also close) and bring something home every once in a while.

  4. Amigos4's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Open memo to BobK re "a near restaurant'

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    It's not the restaurant. (This is totally off-topic.) My wife doesn't get out very often. I do go to the Taco Bell (also close) and bring something home every once in a while.
    RonBee, the next time you visit Taco Bell please bring me 4 tacos and a chalupa! Oh, and a Diet Coke with lemon!

  5. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Open memo to BobK re "a near restaurant'

    1: I still say that if you break the compound word back into the original two - near by - you get right to the difference. If something is nearby, it's near by something - a hotel, a mountain, you, me.

    -I moved to Avondale because there's a movie theater nearby.

    The theater is near by Avondale.

    2: CIW - Boycott the Bell

  6. Monticello's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Open memo to BobK re "a near restaurant'

    Hi all,

    I find it curious that a widely used North American (read primarily US) usage should throw such a curve (OK, not the best choice of idioms, considering it spins off, so to speak, from American baseball) to UK speakers and writers.

    Regarding the original thread on the topic of "near miss," "near synonym," and "near [any]thing," my post to that thread still stands:
    Using Bob K's examples of "near miss," "near synonym," and "near [any]thing," then it would follow that a "near restaurant" would be a place that is almost-but-not-quite-a-restaurant, e.g., Aunt Susie's place, where she fixes up a mean Calamari Cazzarola???

    By the way, a near miss actually isn't (it's really a near hit), despite its prevalence both in speech and writing. - Go figure.
    By the way, does anyone know what may have happened to that "instigating" and entertaining thread? (Subject: near / nearby?) Out of curiosity, I went to find it (the site's search facility on the term "near restaurant" fails to return it???) and it appears to have gone missing. Oops! -There's another one (gasp) for you!
    Last edited by Monticello; 10-Mar-2009 at 07:25.

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