Which is the correct sentence: "I like living by ocean" , "I like living by the ocean" or "I like living by the sea"?

I want to say I love ocean and I like staying nearby ocean.


I had been living in east coast cities of North America. Now I live in a west coast city of North America. I would love telling people I always living nearby ocean because I love staying nearby ocean.

  • "Nearby" can be an adverb of location: "there is an ocean nearby" (modifying "is") OR it can be an adjective of location: "I love to listen to the waves of the nearby ocean" (modifying "ocean".) It can't, however, be used as an adverb to modify "staying", as you have it in your second choice. Use "near the ocean" instead. (Or "by the ocean", "by the sea", "close to the ocean", etc.) – MT_Head Jul 12 '11 at 2:30
  • I will be living by the sea in England this September. This means I am within a 5 minute walking distance to the beach and seafront. Maybe I should say that I will be living by the Bristol Channel. Which one is correct? – user130506 Jul 25 '15 at 10:39

"I like living by the sea" and "I like living by the ocean" are both fine. "By the ocean" is much less common in the UK than the US, perhaps because our islands hardly abut any oceans.

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  • 1
    I was going to say I always think of living by the ocean as the kind of thing Californians say, because they've got a big one right on their doorstep! In fact, that's the most common form in US books indexed by NGram. But it doesn't figure at all in British, where we only like living by the sea. Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside!, etc., etc. – FumbleFingers Jul 12 '11 at 1:03

"I like living by ocean" is incorrect. You need to say "the ocean."

There are several considerations for how you should form the sentence you're describing.

1: Do you currently live near the ocean, and you're telling someone that you are happy that you live near the ocean? - OR - Are you looking for a new place to live and you are telling someone that you'd prefer to live somewhere closer to the ocean?

If you are expressing that you are happy with your current situation I would use the verb "like". ie: "I like living near the ocean."

If you are expressing your general preference I would use the verb "prefer". ie: "I prefer to live near the ocean."

2: Whether you should say the "Ocean" or the "Sea" or something else depends on what body of water you are referring to.

If you're expressing a general preference I would say "Ocean" or "Coast".

If you're expressing a desire to live near a specific body of water I would use whatever noun the local people use for it. For instance, near the Gulf of Mexico you would say: "I prefer to live near the Gulf."

Typically whatever "water word" is used as part of the name of the body of water is going to be how people refer to the body of water in the absense of it's formal name. ie:

  • Lake John Doe == "The Lake"
  • The North Sea == "The Sea"
  • The Gulf of Mexico == "The Gulf"
  • The Pacific Ocean == "The Ocean"

3: How close do you want to be to the water?

If you just want to be within a few hours, just say: "I prefer to live near the ocean."

If you want to specifically be within a few minutes from the water, you should not say Ocean or Lake etc. You should say "the beach." ie. "I like living by the beach."

"By the beach" or "on the beach" imply much closer proximity.

4: The best "general purpose" word is neither Sea nor Ocean, it is "Coast."

ie. "I like living near the coast," or "I prefer to live by the coast."

5: There's a big difference between "by" the ocean and "on" the coast.

Note the critical distinction, if you say "on" the coast or "on" the beach you mean you want to be right at the waters edge, whereas if you say "by" the beach or "by" the ocean you just mean within an accessible distance.

Hope this helps.

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  • thanks Andrew, I edited my original question and added some context. What about I had been living near different ocean? – icn Jul 12 '11 at 3:38
  • In your situation I would say: "I prefer to live near the coast." That could mean East Coast or West Coast, it means within a few hours but doesn't mean you have to be directly adjacent to the water. That's probably the best way to say what you're talking about. – Andrew Jul 12 '11 at 3:55
  • @Andrew I love your answer. "I like living near ocean" would work in just one case - if "Ocean" were a proper noun, correct? I do realize that that is not what the question was necessarily referring to, but nobody seemed to mention the one way it could be used correctly in their answers. – Rachel Jul 19 '11 at 20:40
  • @Rachel - Sure, if you had a friend named Ocean you could say you loved to live near him. :) Good point. – Andrew Jul 19 '11 at 21:36
  • I like the idea of living near the ocean meaning 'within a few hours' - to me, in Britain, it is always within a few hours! – neil May 29 '12 at 10:18

I want to say I love ocean and I like staying nearby ocean.

How about:

I'd love to live by the sea.

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  • Does that work better? – Thursagen Jul 12 '11 at 1:15
  • 1
    Better, although now it kind of implies that you don't live by the sea.... >_> – Hellion Jul 12 '11 at 1:21

"I like living by ocean.", without the article, is incorrect. The other two sound fine to me.

You could say "I like living at sea.", but that means that you enjoy living on a ship or other vessel on the ocean.

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The only way that "I like living by ocean" would work as a grammatically correct sentence would be if you were referring to "Ocean" as a proper noun.

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