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  1. His eyes were small and close (together).

  2. The two buildings are close (together).

I can’t really understand the difference. Perhaps the second version is more emphatic.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

"Together" specifies that "close" is referring to those two things. "McDonalds and KFC are close together" means they are next to each other. "McDonalds and KFC are close" means they are both within easy walking distance of where we are now.

However, it is different with people. "Mac and Kay are close" means those two people have a good friendship. "Mac and Kay are together" probably refers to a sexual relationship, but if you say "Mac and Kay are close together" you are back to saying they are next to each other, adjacent desks maybe.

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“His eyes were small and close” is questionable, ie may be semantically incorrect. Faced with such a sentence, I'd interpret close in its sense of secretive, or “not willing to share information about yourself or your emotions”. See the last-listed adjectival sense in the right sidebar at onelook.com's entry for close.

“His eyes were small and close together” implies the distance between his eyes is less than usual. The sentence “His eyes were small and close-set” would be nearly equivalent.

“The two buildings are close” is what one says to say that two buildings are near the speaker or near some previously-mentioned reference point (although close by is likely to be used in the latter case: “The two buildings are close by.”).

“The two buildings are close together” means the two buildings are not far apart; which, depending on context, might mean the easement between them is inches instead of feet, or might mean they are on the same block, etc. In any case, the sentence doesn't say or imply whether the buildings are near the speaker or an aforementioned reference point.

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His eyes were small and close is an incomplete sentence. Possible completions include:

His eyes were small and close together - meaning a narrow gap between his eyes

His eyes were small and close to tears - meaning he was about to cry

His eyes were small and close to the page - meaning he was holding the book up to his face

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