Why the odd phrase "wasn't [some distance](10 feet / 5 meters / 2 blocks) away" came to be used instead of simpler and straightforward options?

As I asked in the question, it is and must be (this I say based on human tendency observation) general human tendency to simplify the sentence/phrase before saying that and repeating that so it becomes popular, wide-spoken and widely accepted gradually.

But in speaking English, I've seen that many phrases like "wasn't 10 feet away" has been used and accepted instead of simpler, more straight and clarifying phrase "closer/nearer than 10 feet".

Assuming these phrases "wasn't 10 feet away" and "closer/nearer than 10 feet" are equally accurate and interchangeable, why many people intentionally choose hard, not-direct and less-cognitive phrases ? Do provide a detail clarification with the involved history.

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