Dear Friends,

The phrase ...next to nothing... means "almost nothing".

Can we generalise it to ...next to xyz... so that it means "almost xyz".
Eg: ...next to poor... to mean "almost poor"
...next to fool... to mean "almost fool" ( Although it sounds bad ).

Thanks in advance.
1 2
No, this only works with nothing.
Thanks a lot Brit.

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Hello Brit,

You earlier said that 'next to nothing' is unique and 'next to sth' is not applicable. But, today I happened to spot a sentence in the newspaper which employ the usage of 'next to impossible'.
The local media found it next to impossible to enter the ground.

What is your view? (Ofcourse, I know its meaning and usage in this sentence.)

Next to

13. a. next to, the nearest approach to; very nearly, almost.

1667 Milton P.L. vi. 316 Together both with next to Almighty Arme, Uplifted imminent one stroke they aim'd. 1699 Bentley Phal. 140 The very facility and naturalness of every correction will be next to a Demonstration+, that the Observation must needs be true. 1719 De Foe Crusoe ii. (Globe) 329 It must have been next to miraculous if they had escaped. 1753 Richardson Grandison (1811) II. xiii. 152 He loved his father, but next to adored his mother. 1815 W. H. Ireland Scribbleomania 198 It was thought next to impossible. 1828 Life Planter Jamaica 86 It would therefore, be next to a miracle, if he should detect a single stranger among such a host. 1887 Times (weekly ed.) 12 Sept. 7/4 In such circumstances+it would be next to impossible to open the eyes.

b. With following negative.

1656 Tucker in Misc. Scott. Burgh Rec. Soc. (1891) 5 They profered at first that which was next to nothing. 1706 E. Ward Wooden World Diss. (1708) 18 They may cost him next to nothing in the keeping. 1828 Moir Mansie Wauch xi. 185 The old flute was for next to no use at all. 1849 Grote Greece ii. xlviii. (1862) IV. 219 Ships, they had few; trained seamen, yet fewer; wealth, next to none. 1885 Manch. Exam. 11 Nov. 5/1 In his letter he has contrived, without being defiant, to concede next to nothing.
A well-known saying is 'Cleanliness is next to godliness'.
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next to nothing, next to none, next to zero, next to impossible, next to last, ...
OK I hold my hands up, there are quite a few words it goes with.

It can't be used with any random word though, next to poor etc just sounds wrong!
Great examples Paco. Thanks.

Meanwhile I've got a doubt from one of your examples :
He loved his father, but next to adored his mother.

Is it correct to express it as:
He loved his father, but next to his mother.
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