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By a hair's breadth vs. within a hair's breadth



 
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By a hair's breadth vs. within a hair's breadth #1 (permalink) Tue May 10, 2005 9:01 am   By a hair's breadth vs. within a hair's breadth
 

Test No. express/advan-12 "Splitting Hairs", question 10

They were very lucky they didn't get themselves killed because they came within a hair's breadth of falling down the mountain.

(a) very near to
(b) very nearer to
(c) very nearly to
(d) very next to

Test No. express/advan-12 "Splitting Hairs", answer 10

They were very lucky they didn't get themselves killed because they came very near to falling down the mountain.

Correct answer: (a) very near to

Your answer was: correct
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Does "within" have a special meaning because I've thought it is "by a hair's breadth"?
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By a hair's breadth vs. within a hair's breadth #2 (permalink) Tue May 10, 2005 9:54 am   By a hair's breadth vs. within a hair's breadth
 

There is a slight difference in meaning between by a hair's breadth and within a hair's breadth. Please look at these two examples to see what I mean:

The Australian aborigines missed extinction by a hair's breadth.

They were very lucky they didn't get themselves killed because they came within a hair's breadth of falling down the mountain.


In the first sentence the aborigines just managed to avoid extinction.
The people in the second sentence were very close to danger.

So, you come/are within a hair's breadth of something and you miss/escape/avoid something by a hair's breadth.

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By a hair's breadth vs. within a hair's breadth #3 (permalink) Mon Nov 20, 2006 2:28 am   By a hair's breadth vs. within a hair's breadth
 

Maybe it would be digressed from the point of the test, but I would like to know what the difference is between 'near to' and 'close to' in a similar situation as the sentence.

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By a hair's breadth vs. within a hair's breadth #4 (permalink) Mon Nov 20, 2006 9:40 am   By a hair's breadth vs. within a hair's breadth
 

Hi,

It is slightly disgressing from the point but never mind. Both expressions refer to degrees of proximity. Possibly 'close to' is nearer to 'near to' in meaning if you follow me. Let me give you two sentences:

They leave near to one another in the same street.

They were sitting close to one another, side by side.

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