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General Writing and Grammar Help/Come close(r), come near(er)

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Question
Dear Ted:

Is there a difference between "to come close(r) to something/someone" and "to come near(er) to something/someone"?

If so, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

Many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Is there a difference between "to come close(r) to something/someone" and "to come near(er) to something/someone"?

If so, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

*** Many people would say that the two infinitive phrases mean the same thing, and in some cases, they do.  They are interchangeable if your meaning is that the distance from one person to another person is shortened.

EXAMPLES:  The faster I ran, the closer/nearer I got to Bill, who was in the lead.

If I come close/near poison ivy, I start itching.

*** Emotionally speaking, "come close" is the better expression.  Your body does not MOVE, but your emotions are DRAWN to someone or something.  You should not use "near" in "most" of these instances.

EXAMPLES:  As John and Jane got to know each other better, they came closer to each other.

I did not really know my grandfather until he was very old.  During the last six months of his life, he and I were drawn close to each other.

Ted  

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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