Next to / Near - Podcast Episode 31

Welcome to Episode 31 of The English Sessions. next to  / near . I am your host and English teacher, Mike Butler. These podcasts can help you improve your English! Together, we will talk about grammar… pronunciation… structure... and have some fun too. Remember to visit my website, to contact me for private lessons, and for more content.

You can also read the transcript of this audio on the website, as you listen to this episode.

Listen for these words today:
Crowd - a large group of people
Vendor - a person who sells something

Intersection - where two roads cross each other

Are you confused about the difference between ‘next to’, and ‘near (to)’? I’m here to help.

Let’s start with ‘near’. When you are ‘near’ something, it is a short distance away. Perhaps you can see it. For example, two people, Jack and Jill, need to find each other in a big crowd.

Jack says, “Jill, where are you? I can’t see you because of this crowd!”.

Jill says, “I am near the hot dog vendor”.

There is probably a very short distance between Jill and the hot dog vender.

You can be near something, but not actually see it. For example, I am near the Mexican border. I can’t see it from my property, but it’s only about 10 kilometers away. So, it depends on what you need to tell someone. If someone wants to know where I am located in the United States, it’s helpful to tell them that I am near the border. If Jack is on my street, trying to find my house, I’m not going to tell him that I’m near the border. That’s not going to help him. Maybe I’ll tell him that I’m near one specific intersection.

Some people say, “near to”. Remember if you use a preposition with ‘near’, use ‘near to’, according to the Oxford dictionary. Sometimes my learners want to use a different preposition with ‘near’. Send me a message, and tell me what preposition you always want to use with near. Is it ‘of’? Well, that’s probably a mistranslation. I hear that from a lot with my Spanish speaking students. Cerca de = near to/near. I just say ‘near’ though. I am near the intersection. That’s what I grew up hearing.

After the break, I will talk about ‘next to’.


“Next to” is similar to ‘near’ or ‘near to’. But it’s a bit different. The difference is, ‘next to’ must be a position immediately to the side of something else. There is nothing in between. I would not say that I am next to the Mexican border, because there is a little mountain range called the Naco Hills between me and the Mexican border. I am near the Mexican border, but I am next to the Naco Hills. It is what comes next, right?

Let’s go back to the busy crowd of people. Jack wants to find Jill, maybe so they can go up a hill. We know that Jill is near the hot dog vendor, but perhaps she is not right next to the hot dog vendor. Perhaps a taco vendor is even closer to Jill. She can say, “Jack, I am near all of the food vendors, and I am right next to the taco vendor. That helps Jack even more! We assume there is nothing between Jill and the taco vendor. She is next to the taco vendor.

So remember, both ‘near’ and ‘next to’ mean that you are a short distance away from something. However, if you are ‘next to’ something, there is nothing between you and that other thing. Go to the website, because I will post a picture to help all of you. I know some of you are visual learners, like I am.

Picture of three candles of different colors

The red candle is near the yellow and blue candles, but it is next to just the blue one

Any questions? Write to me at . Leave a message for me on the website, and I will play it on the podcast. Make sure to subscribe to this podcast so you won’t miss an episode. Visit for more content. Please rate and review The English Sessions on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Find us on social media. Twitter @theEsessions; Instagram @englishsessionswithmike; Search for The English Sessions on Facebook. Until next time, this is Mike signing off.


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