Difference Between By and Near

Grammar is the way we arrange words to form a sentence. Nouns, verbs, pronouns, determiners, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and conjunctions are recognized as the parts of speech.

There exist several words that have different meanings but are used in place of one another in general language due to incorrect or lack of proper knowledge among people.

Likewise, there are various confusing words, for example, accept and except. The former means to approve or consent to receive or give, whereas, the latter denotes the meaning of excluding something or other than.

Another example of the same would be, all ready and already, some may say that the only difference between them is the space between two particles.

However, there is more to it, the former denotes that everything or everyone is ready, whereas, the latter i.e. already means by now or till now.

By and near are words with two different meanings, the former by is used for a close place, for example, That place is by the sea, whereas, the latter is used to indicate the actual place by giving a reference of a second thing or place, for example, My home is near Gate number seven.

By vs Near

The main difference between By and Near is that by suggests a great degree of closeness, the other i.e. near denotes a short distance of a place or thing to the actual place or thing but longer as compared to the former.

By vs Near


Comparison Table Between By and Near (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonByNear
MeaningThe word “by” suggests the closeness of the place or the thing.On the other hand, the word “near” denotes the short distance of a place to the actual place.
ExamplesFor example: The restaurant is by the beach
I spoke to her by telephone
For example: The AZY hotel is near the Qutub Minar
My school is near the ABC Cinema.
Alternative wordsThe alternatives for the word “by” are next to, beside, next door to, alongside, close to, before, and hard by.The alternative words for “near” are close by, nearby, at hand, within reach, almost, and just near.
Part of speechThe word “by” is commonly used as a preposition, adjective, and an adverb as well.Similarly, the word “near” is used as a preposition, adjective, and an adverb as well.
DistanceBy is used to denote that the place or thing is just beside it.Whereas, on the other hand, near is used to denote that it is not beside but within a close distance,


When to Use By?

By is the word that denotes the closeness or immediacy of the place. It is used as a preposition and an adverb, depending upon the sentence. A preposition is the function phrase which is commonly combined with a noun.

There are many ways of using by as a preposition, a few of them are mentioned below.

The list starts with:

  1. ‘By’ and place: The word “by” is used with a place, where it denotes the closeness of the place. For example, The Shake it up cafe is by the river or Riza lives by the train station.
  2. ‘By’ and method of transportation: When we use the method of transport, we denote the meaning of how a person or persons are traveling. For example, John travels to work by car or the people of committee travel by bus
  3. ‘By’ and the method of communication: By + method of communication refers to the procedure or way of communicating. For example, I will send you the invoice by post or I spoke to her by telephone.
  4. ‘By’ and the method of payment: By plus the method of payment is the technique or system used for payment. For example, I shop by my credit card or I get my salary by cheque.

When to Use Near?

The word near represents a short distance like 2 kilometers or so, in terms of place. It can be used as a preposition, adverb, and lastly, adverb. It can be used in the following situations or sentences.

  1. Close to something: The group of policemen were sitting near the entrance
  2. Getting close to a situation: Julie is near to solving a puzzle
  3. Similarity: His words are near the truth but not accurate
  4. A little less than a particular amount or number: The temperature was near 50 degrees

Main Differences Between By and Near

  1. The first and foremost difference in regards to propositions is that by and near is in its meaning, the former refers to the immediacy, whereas, the latter refers to the short distance.
  2. The difference between them in terms of adverbs is that by is along the path of the speaker while near is having a small intervening distance concerning something.
  3. In terms of adjectives, by denotes out of the way/normal path, however, near refers to being physically close.
  4. By and near cannot be used interchangeably, for example, I am waiting for you by the car and I am standing near the tree. By denotes a shorter distance than near does.
  5. For examples, I live by the lake, here the word by is used to denote that the lake is visible from the place where the speaker lives and is just beside the lake, whereas, if we put the word near in the sentence i.e. I live near the lake, here it will denote that the speaker within a couple of kilometers or more, of the sea.
Difference Between By and Near



By and near are the two most commonly used words in the English language and are sometimes used interchangeably. Both the words are used to denote closeness to something or someplace, both are used as prepositions, adverbs, and adjectives as well.

However, there is a difference in their meanings, the former refers to just at the side of something, for example, we live by the sea, the word by is used only if the sea can be seen just outside the house, it means it represents the immediacy.

However, the latter represents the short distance, for example, we live near the sea, the word near is used to denote that maybe the sea is 2 kilometers away or maybe 5 but is not just at the side of the house. 


  1. https://www.englishclub.com/efl/articles/8-ways-to-use-the-preposition-by/
  2. https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/near_1
  3. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/preposition
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