I tried searching for an answer but I'm not sure what the underlying concept is and thus am not having much luck with my searches.

  • Both are grammatically correct but your second sentence sounds more idiomatic.
    – Centaurus
    Apr 7, 2018 at 1:28
  • 3
    I'd say the first is more idiomatic.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 7, 2018 at 1:58

2 Answers 2


Both are grammatically correct, but the first is more idiomatic. English usually puts prepositional phrases (to your goal) at the end of sentences. This rule especially applies when using possessive pronouns (your): it's best to introduce the subject (you) first before we start making references to them (your goal).

The easy way to find the correct order in a question is to turn it into a statement:

You are very close to your goal.

Subj Verb Preposition


How close are you to your goal?

Question words Verb Subj Preposition

Edit: I want to add that both sound right to me. A grammatician would probably prefer the first option, but the difference is so slight that I wouldn't worry about it.


While both statements are technically correct, the first one fits much better.

It's true that if X is close to Y, than Y is equally close to X. However, here there's an aspect of motion (either geographic, or metaphorical.)

The "distance" between the two is getting smaller. In that case, should you say "X is getting closer to Y" or "Y is getting closer to X"?

The answer depends: which one is moving.

If X is moving closer to Y, while Y is stationary, then it sounds very funny to say "Y is getting closer to X." It technically is true, but only because X is moving closer. So just say that X is getting closer to Y!

Ex: If someone is on a journey to the mountain, you would usually say "He is getting closer to the mountain" not "the mountain is getting closer to him." Since the mountain isn't moving, and it's only getting closer because of the motion of the person, we would just focus on the one doing the motion.

The same is true when discussing goals.

The goals are not moving; they are stationary. I.E. If a person wants to pass a test, the test itself is staying the same the whole time. What's changing is the person who's studying and moving closer to the goal of being able to pass the test.

Thus, since the motion is being done by the person, we would describe it as "the person is moving closer to the goal."

Theoretically, if there was the opposite case, we could use the other term. Ex: Let's say a person wanted to pass a test. In order to pass, you had to answer correctly 100% of the questions. Let's say the person only had the knowledge to answer 75% correctly.

The first time he took it, he got a 75% which meant failure. The teacher decided to be lenient and set the threshold at 90%. When he took it the second time, he got 75% again.

The teacher lowered the threshold to 80%, and again he got 75%. The fourth time the teacher lowered it to 70%, and the student again received 75%- which now was enough to pass.

Here, one could say the goal became closer to the person. The person did no changing at all.

But, this case is highly unusual and irregular. Usually the goals remain somewhat constant, while the person is striving to achieve the goals.

Thus, the first option is better

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