Lexical issue - the words "close" and "far" in terms of time


I need some help with a lexical issue. In my native language we have one word that means "close" both in terms of distance (meters etc) and in terms of distance in time. The same goes for "far" and everything related. So it's very difficult for me do distinguish.

What words could be used to say close in terms of time, and what in terms of distance? Are some of them interchangable, or only reserved for one meaning? The same goes for far. How do you distinguish? I'd be grateful for some help :)


Posted 2019-11-06T22:39:15.410

Reputation: 41



TIME: close and far can be used with time

  • It was nowhere near 8:00 pm. [for far from a specific time.]
  • It was far from 8:00 pm when we started.
  • It was close or closer to 7:30 when we left. [close to a time]

Close to a time and nowhere near a time [or far from a time.]

Otherwise, close and far apply to distances, for sure.


Posted 2019-11-06T22:39:15.410

Reputation: 26 929

Worth noting that things either *are coming soon* (time) or *are close* (distance). – Cranberry48 – 2019-12-19T03:35:29.300


In English "close" and "far" almost always refer to distance.

The closest common words that express that idea for time are "soon", and "later" or "eventually"

If you look up close/far in a thesaurus you'll find plenty of other options for distance, and if you look up soon/later/eventually you'll find other options for time.

Sometimes people might talk about time as a physical space, and might use distance words to refer to time. For example "The time to worry about that is far in the future" or "The party starts close to the time we're supposed to be at dinner".

I can't think of a use case where I'd use a time word to express distance.


Posted 2019-11-06T22:39:15.410

Reputation: 2 550


You could use the adverb "nearly" for time and distance, as in these examples:

  1. It is nearly time for dinner.

  2. We are nearly there.

"Approaching" is also a good word for something becoming closer both in distance and in time, such as:

  1. We are now approaching the airport.

  2. The Christmas season is approaching.

Lexico defines "approaching" here: https://www.lexico.com/definition/approaching They describe it as an adjective "Coming nearer in distance or time. ‘an approaching car’ ‘He warned of an approaching crisis.'"

"Long" and "short" can also be used to express time and distance.

  1. It will be a long time before we get there.
  2. It is a long way to Florida.
  3. We will arrive in a short time.
  4. We will arrive shortly/in a short time.

The English language contains a rich vocabulary. I imagine it could be very overwhelming to learn it. As a native English speaker, I can safely say that I would not want to have to learn it as an adult! Reading will help you greatly, and you will discover many ways to express yourself. Good luck on your journey!


Posted 2019-11-06T22:39:15.410

Reputation: 123