The expression “near to X, Y, or Z” is becoming prevalent, even in the Times (of London). What’s wrong with “near”? Is there any linguistic ammunition that can be fired in the direction of this misuse?
The question comes from England and most of the “near to” examples I found by cruising the web I found on British sites:
“There are [sic] a distinct lack of pubs near to the ground (sports field) as it is built away from other buildings.
the pub is near to the junction with the A34
The church is near to Charing Cross, Waterloo and Blackfriars stations.
This caption is the only “near to” I was able to find for the US:
Panorama from the lawn behind Living Stones Church near to Kailua-Kona. –Hawaiian tourist site.
Plenty examples of near without the unnecessary “to” are to be found on British sites:
Saint Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio of the red cave.
information about St Cwyfans Church, near Aberffraw
Wembley Arena Hotels offers great rates on over 50 hotels near Wembley Arena.
American usage definitely favors near without a “to”:
Other attractions near our Houston, Texas hotel include…
Situated near some of the most recognizable landmarks in Washington DC, this hotel provides easy access to renowned monuments,
Patent attorneys located near the US Patent Office
People visiting the Little Rock area can find several hotels near Verizon Arena that offer suite accommodations.
The adverb nearby sometimes gets lumbered with “to.” In this example the preposition is used without the extra word, but the adverb gets a “to”:
Nearby to the pub is the “hidden” 13th century church of St John the Baptist – the most isolated church in Surrey. The pub is near the T-junction at the top.
Not everyone sees the tacked-on “to” as an error. I came across this “tip” on an ESL site:
Use the preposition ‘near’ with or without ‘to’ for the same meaning. Ex. He lives near (to) the bank. My friends play soccer near (to) my office building.
Adding a “to” after the preposition is grammatically unnecessary. Nothing is lost by dropping the “to” in the following examples:
the pub is near the junction with the A34
The church is near Charing Cross
Can it be a regional thing?