Usually, I write This task is nearly impossible, but I read the following line in a blog:

Even though prices have been dipping, it's near impossible to manufacture a smartphone at such a low price.

Is it correct? I also want to know whether nearly impossible is more used in Indian English.


Both are fine; they are both adverbs, though 'near' is as mentioned above also an adjective and a verb. It's entirely up to the writer; English is a rich language. The '-ly' form may place a little more emphasis on the verb, being a conventional adverbial form - the reader's attention is subliminally directed to the verb.[phew, can't quite do it]. 'Near' slightly suggests, in contrast, a quality belonging to whatever is being so described. [wooah, that's not on, effectively]

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According to Merriam Webster Dictionary one of the meanings of near as an adverb is "almost or nearly" as in "The plant was near dead when I got it." You can find it here.

Both are true but according to corpus information "near impossible" is less frequent than "nearly impossible". So it is better to use "nearly impossible".

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"Nearly" is an adverb, which means "almost". "Near" can be an adjective, verb, or adverb:

I am nearly finished with the assignment. (adverb)

He lives near the school. (preposition)

As we neared the railway station, we could hear the sounds of trains . (verb)

Their house is the near side of the lake. (adjective)

In the example sentence, it's "almost impossible" so to be grammatically correct, "nearly" should be used; although "near impossible" could also be found which is, strictly speaking, contrary to the grammar books I know of.

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  • The 'near' in your second example ('near the school') is a preposition rather than an adverb, no? – Chocolate Apr 30 '16 at 16:12

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