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If we consider the two sentences:

  1. On Mondays, near 10% of the workforce report sick;
  2. On Mondays, nearly 10% of the workforce report sick;

I am inclined to think that the latter is correct. But '10% of the workforce' is a noun-phrase, so the adverb 'nearly' should not logically be there. I saw a few sentences similar to the first, but I am not very convinced they are correct. Couldn't find this in the Wren & Martin. Please correct me if I am wrong.

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I think nearly would be a better choice here - as you are describing how close percentage of sick workforce is to 10% and not describing the 10% as noun itself -

Source :

Near or Nearly? Near can function as a verb, adverb, adjective, or preposition. Nearly is used as an adverb to mean "in a close manner" or "almost but not quite." Here are some examples that demonstrate the differences between various uses of near and nearly.

"I'll be seeing you in the near future." Here, near describes the noun "future." "The cat crept near." Near is an adverb that describes where the cat crept. "Don't worry; we're nearly there." Here, nearly describes how close we are. Near can also be used as a verb and a preposition.

"My graduation neared." Here, neared is the verb of the sentence. "I want the couch near the window." Near is a preposition at the head of the phrase "near the window."

Owl English

  • Tidied up your link to demonstrate. Feel free to undo. – Nigel J May 3 '18 at 4:56
  • It looks better now, thankyou. – Vivek Kumar May 3 '18 at 4:56
  • Thanks, Vivek. Your explanation is great. BTW, I was wondering whether the phrase '10% of the workforce' is an adjective phrase, for 'nearly' to qualify it. – Apurba Dutta May 4 '18 at 12:01

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