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Close proximity

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  • Close proximity is an expression that is often used in the English language, though it is not an elegant phrase. We will examine the definition of the phrase close proximity, why it may be considered problematic, and some examples of its use in sentences.

    Close proximity describes something that is near, when discussing placement in space or time or the status of a relationship. Though close proximity is a fairly common phrase, many people consider it a poor use of English grammar. The word proximity means close or near to, and the addition of the word close is simply repetitive. This makes the phrase close proximity a tautology or redundancy. A tautology or redundancy is the use of two or more words in the same expression in which a modifier’s meaning is contained in the word it modifies. Other examples of expressions that are tautologies are two twins and new beginnings. Using tautologies in one’s writing is discouraged, as it gives the impression of not thoroughly understanding the topic one is writing about or how to use the English language. On the other hand, the phrase close proximity may be used to indicate degrees of closeness by altering the adjective, as related terms are closer proximity and closest proximity.

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    Examples

    Irma will probably continue to be suppressed by the strong Atlantic high pressure beyond Wednesday, keeping the storm at major hurricane status and on a trajectory that places the storm in close proximity to Florida by next weekend. (The Washington Post)

    It wasn’t his first time to have been in close proximity to the Liam MacCarthy trophy having driven the victorious team bus across the Shannon when Galway won the All-Ireland title in 1980. (The Irish Examiner)

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