My birthday is very near Christmas.

brian&me

Senior Member
Chinese - China
Hi, everyone.

I found this sentence in Oxford Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary:

My birthday is very near Christmas.

I wonder if ‘near’ in this sentence an adjective or a preposition.

Many thanks.
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    It must be a preposition: "near Christmas" means "close to Christmas". The sentence says my birthday is not on Christmas day (December 25 every year) but is on a nearby day.

    If it was an adjective then "a very near Christmas" would mean "a Christmas that is very near", and the sentence would be saying "My birthday is on Christmas" ungrammatically.
     

    brian&me

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thanks, friends.
    If "near" in the OP is a preposition, so "very" can modify prepositions?
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    can "very" modify prepositions?
    Not in general, no. It works with "near" because it is not an ordinary preposition. It is a bit like an adverb or adjective with a preposition built in.
    Think of it as a shortened form of "My birthday is very near to Christmas" where "to" is the "real" preposition. When "to" is omitted, "near" takes on the role of preposition.
    The "very" modifies the adverbial/adjectival part of "near", not the prepositional part.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top