nearly / almost


New Member

I know these two words nearly and almost to say presque but i don't really know if i can use it each of them when I want. My question is in which context must I use which one?

thank you!

  • verbivore

    USA, English
    Perhaps this is similar to the relationship between presque vs. faillir (in passé composé) + inf. if that helps you.


    Senior Member
    Français - France

    I haven't found any thread dealing with this, so here is my question. I can't see the difference between "almost" and "nearly". They're both translated by "presque" in French, in all its meaning. Could anyone give a rule to the use of one or the other please (and if there are other examples in English/French to understand they would be much welcome !) ?


    Senior Member
    English-United Sates
    maybe this helps

    I personally find them pretty interchangeable in the positive, but not in the negative.

    To me, saying something like:
    that movie wasn't nearly as good as its hype

    does not sound right if I used "almost"
    that movie was not almost as good as its hype.

    *but that website gives a good look into the relationship between the two with examples, I'd give some quotes from it, but without full context it would be confusing or the quotes would be very long...

    hope it helps!!


    Senior Member
    English - Ireland
    Je crois qu'ils sont assez interchangeables.

    "Il est presque trois heures" - It's almost three o' clock / It's nearly three o' clock
    "Il coute presque deux cents euro" - It costs nearly €200 / It costs almost €200.

    En revanche, dans la phrase "It's almost as if he doesn't want to see us" (Il est presque comme si il ne veuille pas nous voir), on ne peut pas dire "nearly".

    Aussi, les deux peuvent signifie "faillir".
    I almost fell/I nearly fell - "J'ai failli tomber".


    English - USA
    Sometimes it can help to compare the English definitions given in an English language dictionary. :)

    For example, from Merriam-Webster:
    almost, adv.
    very nearly but not exactly or entirely, e.g., almost there

    nearly, adv.
    1. in a close manner or relationship, e.g., nearly related
    2a. almost but not quite, e.g., nearly identical
    2b. to the least extent, e.g., not nearly as good as we expected
    As you can see, "almost" is a synonym for definition 2a of "nearly" -- but it is not a synonym for the other two senses. Definition 2b for "nearly" really only appears in negative sentences.


    Senior Member
    Hello everyone!
    I read:
    I've been learning English for nearly seven years.
    Yet, I would use "almost" instead.
    Am I right?
    If both can be used, what is the difference?
    Thanks for helping.


    Senior Member
    UK English
    I would say that there is no difference. If you wanted, you could read a long thread - 'Nearly vs Almost' on the English Only Forum. In this, some native-speakers detect a slight difference between them, but others, like me, think they are interchangeable.
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