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Almost nearly practically.jpg
Almost / nearly / practically

Progress, measurement and counting[edit | edit source]

Almost and nearly can both express ideas connected with progress, measurement or counting. Nearly is less common in American English. 


  • I've almost/nearly finished.
  • There were almost/nearly a thousand people there. 

Sometimes almost is a little 'nearer’ than nearly.  


  • It’s nearly ten o ’clock. (= perhaps 9.45)
  • It's almost ten o'clock. (= perhaps 9.57)  

Very and pretty can be used with nearly but not almost. 


  • I've very/pretty nearly finished, (not . . . very almost . . .)

Other meanings[edit | edit source]

We can use almost to mean 'similar to, but not exactly the same’, and to make statements less definite. Nearly is not used like this. 


  • Our cat understands everything - he's almost human.  (not he's nearly human.)
  • Her aunt’s got a strange accent. She almost sounds foreign. (not She nearly sounds foreign.)
  • I almost wish I ’d stayed at home, (not I nearly wish)
  • Jake is almost like a father to me. 

never, nobody, nothing, etc[edit | edit source]

We do not usually use "nearly" before negative pronouns or adverbs like never, nobody, nothing. Instead, we use "almost", or we use "hardly" with ever, anybody, anything, etc.  


  • She’s almost never / hardly ever at home, (not . . . nearly never . . .)
  • Almost nobody / hardly anybody was there.

everybody, everything, anybody, anything, etc[edit | edit source]

We also prefer almost before everybody/ -one/-thing/-where, and almost is much more common than nearly before anybody/ -one/-thing/-where.  


  • She likes almost everybody. Almost anybody can do this job.
  • He's been almost everywhere. He eats almost anything.

Practically[edit | edit source]

Practically can be used in the same way as almost.  


  • I ’ve practically finished. Jake is practically like a father to me.
  • She’s practically never at home. 

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