Today I’m sharing an answer I gave to a question from my student taking my course. I hope it helps you in your Japanese learning journey!
[Question from a student]
先生、I was wondering, are そば and ちかく interchangeable, or do they have different meanings?
Is it okay to rephrase 犬は私のそばにいます to 犬は私の近くにいます?
Yes, you can replace 犬(いぬ)は私(わたし)のそばにいます with 犬は私の近(ちか)くにいます and the meaning will not change much, but there is a slight difference.
そば indicates that the object is closer than 近く. そば means immediately nearby.
(Your dog is right next to you, for example, at your feet.)
(Your dog is not exactly attached to you but close by, same room, etc.)
I hope my explanation helps you. 😊
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