Friday, June 29

Nearby, Near, and SIRI






A screenshot of Google Maps





These days, there are all sorts of technology to help you know locations. Whether you’re using Apple maps or Google maps, finding yourself and your destination is as easy as the touch of a button. 



Or two.



If you’re equipped with the latest iPhone (4S and later), you probably have SIRI. With your own Artificial Intelligence assistant from Apple, you could try making the task even easier. Then you can get the information that you want at the speed of sound.



As fast as your own voice.



Although SIRI is really smart and can recognize your questions set in many different ways, all of them still have to be phrased using basic keywords like “Where’s the nearest____?” and “Find nearby____s?



You could always check that nobody can overhear you by doing this in the comfort of your house. But it would be a shame if people found out that you don’t know how to use a couple of very important words in English. 


In fact, it already is a shame if a robot like SIRI can speak better English than you. ;-)



image courtesy of stock.xchng



Having said that, let us proceed to our topic for today…





Nearby vs. Near




First of all, these two words might have the same meaning, but if you look at what Part of Speech (kind of word) they are, you will discover something:



Nearby = Adjective/ Adverb


Near = Preposition/ Adjective/ Adverb



Nearby” and “Near” can be both the same type of words (Adjective and Adverb) except one: a Preposition.



You will find a lot of confusing examples in your dictionary, but one easy way to tell the difference between our two words is: "Nearby" cannot become a Preposition.




To the eyes and minds of many learners, it’s the opposite: “Nearby” looks very much like a Preposition. This is because "Nearby" in fact consists of 2 Prepositions: “Near” and “By”.




Let’s discuss this in detail…





When you use "Near" as a Preposition, you always put a Noun after it. Like this:



Preposition + Noun


Near + Noun


Ex.


1.       I live near the station. = Ok


2.       Let’s go sit near the stage. = Ok


3.       It’s near the park. = Ok




You cannot use “Nearby” like this, as a Preposition:



1.       I live nearby the station. = X


2.       Let’s go sit nearby the stage. = X


3.       It’s nearby the park. = X





But you can use “Nearby” in other ways. For instance, as an Adjective:



1.       There’s a nearby station. = Ok


2.       He works at a nearby clinic. = Ok


3.       There’s a nearby park. = Ok





This is why it gets mixed up inside the learner’s mind. In the examples above, it’s true that “Nearby” is also followed by a Noun. But it functions as an Adjective; not as a Preposition.



Please remember and try not to mix the two: Near (Preposition) and Nearby (Adjective).




You can also use “Nearby” alone as an Adverb:


1.       I live nearby.


2.       You should swim nearby.


3.       There is a library nearby.






Last but not least, “Nearby” cannot be used as a Comparative Adjective while “Near” can:



Near – nearer – nearest = OK


Nearby – nearbier – nearbiest = X







These are all the reasons why you should ask SIRI



Where’s the nearest Mcdonald’s?” or “What is the closest ATM?” and “Are there any good Mexican restaurants nearby?”  









Hope you learned something!


;-)





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