almost - nearly
when you can use ‘almost’ or ‘nearly’
Almost and nearly both mean ‘not completely’ or ‘not quite’. They can be used in front of adjectives or noun phrases, or with verbs.
Dinner is almost ready.
We're nearly ready now.
I spent almost a month in China.
He worked there for nearly five years.
Jenny almost fainted.
He nearly died.
Almost and nearly can also be used in front of some time adverbials such as every morning and every day, and in front of some place adverbials such as there.
We go swimming almost every evening.
I drive to work nearly every day.
We are almost there.
I think we are nearly there.
If it is almost or nearly a particular time, it will be that time soon.
It was almost 10 p.m.
It's nearly dinner-time.
when you use ‘almost’
Don't use ‘nearly’ in front of adverbs ending in ‘-ly’. You should use almost in front of these adverbs.
She said it almost angrily.
Your boss is almost certainly there.
You can say that one thing is almost like another. Don't say that one thing is ‘nearly like’ another.
It made me feel almost like a mother.
You can use almost in front of negative words such as never, no, none, no-one, nothing, and nowhere.
He almost never visits.
She speaks almost no English.
Don't use ‘nearly’ in front of negative words like these.
when you use ‘nearly’
You can use nearly after not to emphasize a negative statement. For example, instead of saying ‘The room is not big enough’, you can say ‘The room is not nearly big enough’.
It's not nearly as nice.
We don't do nearly enough to help.
Don't use ‘almost’ after not like this.
You can use very or so in front of nearly.
We were very nearly at the end of our journey.
She so nearly won the championship.*
Don't use ‘almost’ with very or so.