Is "nearer the water" an adjective or preposition?

Hi, please have a look at this:

They had beautiful rooms high in the ship. Poorer people were in another part of he ship, lower down, nearer the water.
=> I find the bold part very strange. “near” here is an preposition, isn’t it?
I never know a preposition can also be used in comparison :roll: :roll:

Hi Nessie,

‘Near’ is both preposition and adjective and in your sentence it’s an adjective. Hence the comparative form.

Alan

Hi Nessie

Maybe it will also help to look at it this way:

nearer = closer to

“Poorer people were in another part of the ship, … nearer the water”:

another part of the ship, … nearer the water = another part of the ship, … which was closer to the water
.

Thanks a lot, Alan and Amy.
Actually I can understand what the sentence means, but I just can’t understand “nearer the water” very well. If it’s an adjective, then how can it have an object? (I thought only verbs and prepositions can have objects) :open_mouth:

Come sit closer to the fire.
I had to hold the book further from my eyes.

Do those bother you?

No, Barb. The sentences you gave sound completely all right to me.
‘closer to’ => close is an adj and ‘the fire’ is the object of the preposition ‘to’ (not of the adj ‘closer’), thus not strange at all
‘further from’ => also, ‘my eyes’ is the object of the preposition ‘from’, not the adj ‘further’, thus not strange either.

However, in ‘nearer the water’, ‘water’ is the object of ‘near’, which is an adj, and that’s why I find it strange.
(Because as I said, here I am taught there are only two kinds of objects: objects of verbs and objects of prepositions)

By the way, Barb, I have another query for this sentence:
I had to hold the book further from my eyes
=> Do you mean ‘I had to keep the book at a farther distance from my eyes’? If so, then why didn’t you use ‘farther’ instead of ‘further’? (I ask because here I am taught that ‘farther’ refers to distance (real meaning), while ‘further’ refers to… kind of… metaphor meaning. What do you think?

Hi Barb, are you there? :roll: