nearby vs. near by


When is it one word, and when is it two words?

nearby asked Nov 27 '12 at 12:46 David Contributor

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Nearby can be used both as an adjective and an adverb. I went to a nearby library to study. I live nearby.

link comment answered Nov 27 '12 at 16:10 sanjay Expert

Thanks, sanjay.  And when would you use "near by"?

link answered Nov 27 '12 at 16:50 David Contributor

nearby is one word and not two.

sanjayNov 27 '12 at 17:10

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Obviously "near" and "by" are each words, so it seems as thought there may be an occasion to use them as separate words, but together.  The only examples I can think of separates them with punctuation or other words. 


The treasure we seek is near, by that tree over there. 

The treasure we seek is near.  It is by that tree over there. 


The treasure we seek is nearby.  That tree is a clue.

link answered Nov 27 '12 at 17:24 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

How about "We live near by the canal"?

DavidNov 27 '12 at 17:37

We live nearby the canal. We live near, by the canal.

Patty TNov 27 '12 at 20:03

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How about " I'm now going to retire to a near by sofa and deal with my food coma."

What that mean?

link answered Dec 03 '13 at 08:33 Luke Andrian New member

That would be "nearby".

Shaun LomeliDec 19 '14 at 05:29

The way you have it worded with near and by as two words makes it seem as though "near" is a thing, close to (or, perhaps, made by) an uncapitalized person/place named "Sofa".

Shaun LomeliDec 19 '14 at 05:34

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Nearby should always be one word unless there is a comma between them, this is because near and by both mean "close" (with "by" having the additional secondary meanings of "of" or "from") and the redundancy changes the meaning of the sentence.


Putting "near by", sans comma, is like saying "close close to"). When a comma is used, it is the same as saying "close, to the person in question as well as close to another, seperate thing. When made into one word it is the same as "close to" (though don't get me started on close by and close-by.

Using the canal example above:

[✘] "We live close close to the canal"

[✓] "We live close, close to the canal"

[✓] "We live close to the canal"

link comment answered Dec 19 '14 at 05:49 Shaun Lomeli New member

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