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Consider the phrase below:

He produced almost no news reports this week.

And this another one:

He produced near to no news reports this week.

Do "almost" and "near to" have the same meaning here? Are they both grammatically correct? Is one more formal and/or more idiomatic than the another?

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  • Seems "near to" is very uncommon in this sense. Nov 15, 2014 at 3:03
  • How about: "close to" vs "almost"? "He's close to figuring things out.": "He's almost figured things out." Cool, huh? Nov 15, 2014 at 3:04

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I would rate these as synonyms.

I prefer the first construction; "near" contains an inbuilt context of (theoretically) measurable distance (in space or time) which doesn't gel with the dimensionless quantity of news reports.

If you are looking for a more idiomatic expression, try:

He produced next to no news reports this week.

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