Difference Between Close and Near

Key Difference – Close vs Near

Close and near are two words that indicate proximity. Both these words mean ‘not far’ or ‘a short distance away’, and thus can be used interchangeably. However, there are some contexts where they cannot be used as synonyms since there are subtle nuances in their meaning. Close can also refer to the proximity or intimacy in a relationship whereas near cannot. This can be termed as the key difference between close and near.

What Does Close Mean?

Close means not far away or distant. We can use this term to describe something that is located only a short distant away. Close can be used to indicate a short gap in time as well. For example, we can use close to talk about two dates that are near each other.

Look at the following examples to understand the meaning and usage of this adjective more clearly.

She lives close to the sea.

I went to the closest shop and bought a packet of biscuit.

Her birthday and his are close together.          

He wanted to buy a house close to his daughter’s school.

I told my daughter to stay close as we walked through the crowded market.

The newlywed couple sat close together on the sofa.

This adjective can be also used to describe relationships where members are very affectionate and intimate. For example, close relatives can refer to the immediate relatives or relatives with whom you have a very good relationship.

I only invited some of my close friends to the wedding.

She stayed with her close relatives for two years.

Key Difference - Close vs Near

They are close friends.

What Does Near Mean?

Near also means ‘short distance away’ or not very far. Thus, it can be used interchangeably with close when referring to the distance.

 He left the basket close to her door. → He left the basket near her door.

I live close to St. Mary’s hospital. → I live near St. Mary’s hospital.

In the above examples, you can notice that close is followed by the preposition to whereas near is used without the help of any other prepositions. This is a grammatical difference between close and near.

Near can be also used to refer to a short distance in time.

We returned home near midnight.

He was born sometime near the end of 18th century.

Near can also be used to replace the adjective almost. For example,

He was near death when we found him.

Difference Between Close and Near

He parked his van near our house.

What is the difference between Close and Near?


Both near and close mean “not very far away”.


Close is often used to describe relationships.

Near is not often used to describe relationships.


Close is often followed by the preposition to.

Near is not followed by any preposition.