From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishnearlynear‧ly /ˈnɪəli $ ˈnɪrli/ ●●● S1 W1 adverb 1 especially British EnglishALMOST almost, but not quite or not completely SYN almost It took nearly two hours to get here. Michelle’s nearly twenty. Is the job nearly finished? Louise is nearly as tall as her mother. I nearly always go home for lunch. He very nearly died.► see thesaurus at almost2 → not nearlyGRAMMAR: Comparisonnearly• Don’t use nearly before negative words such as ‘no’ or ‘nothing’. ✗Don’t say: I know nearly nothing about it. | There was nearly no traffic.almost• You can use almost with negative words such as ‘no’ or ‘nothing’: I know almost nothing about it.There was almost no traffic.hardly• You can also form negative sentences using hardly with ‘any’, ‘anything’ etc: I know hardly anything about it.There was hardly any traffic.
Examples from the Corpusnearly• Oh, my goodness, it's nearly 12:30.• The trouble is that anything you do, nomatterwhat, will nearly always increase the muscular tension and make the situation worse.• He was nearly at the feeding-ground now.• I nearly died from salmonella poisoning.• Porter Payne would drop by nearly every day to see how things were going.• The blizzard also nearly froze secondary trading, participants said.• He was wearing pale blue brushed denim pants and a pale blue shirt that made his blue eyes look nearly luminous.• Last summer nearly saw the second ascent of Ken's Fisherman's Tale by a visiting climber.• He's nearly six feet tall.• Alas, it was not nearly so simple, and many more complex problems remained to be solved.nearly always• A Yes, my child usually gets her own way - not always, but nearly always.• Her eyes are closed, as these days they nearly always are.• Cocaine production requires large amounts of water, hence factories are nearly always built by streams.• The spasms nearly always cause targets to curl into a foetal position.• We nearly always had milk pudding, rice pudding, semolina or some other stodge.• They dwell instead on invalid core beliefs and the kinds of mythical fear that such beliefs nearly always inspire.• My back hurt, it was hot and sweaty and I was nearly always out of breath.• Then, when they arrive, the suspense is over and delight is nearly always the result.