Almost can mean ‘nearly’, ‘not quite’ or ‘not completely’. It is an adverb.
When almost modifies a verb, it normally goes before that verb.
- I have almost finished the job.
If the verb is a form of be, almost goes after it.
- There were almost sixty people there.
We have already seen that almost is an adverb. An adverb can modify an adjective. When almost is used to modify an adjective, it goes before the adjective.
- I am almost ready to leave.
- He is almost certain to win.
Almost can be used with expressions like every, all, nothing and no-one.
- Almost everyone owns a car these days.
- He calls him mom almost every day.
- She has broken almost all of her toys.
- She has been to almost all countries in Asia.
- I am upset because almost no-one wished me on my birthday.
- There was almost nothing to do.
- The boys have eaten almost all the cookies.
Almost can be used with expressions of time and quantity.
- I spent almost two months in Australia. OR I spent nearly two months in Australia.
- That used laptop cost me almost 300 dollars. (= … nearly 300 dollars.)
Almost can be used with always and never. It cannot be used with sometimes, occasionally or often.
- He is almost always late for work.
- She is almost never at home.
Almost and nearly
These adverbs have very similar meanings.
- I am almost finished. = I am nearly finished.
Almost can also mean ‘similar to, but not exactly the same’. Nearly cannot be used with this meaning.
- He is almost like a brother to me. (BUT NOT He is nearly like a brother to me.)
- My dog is almost human. (NOT My dog is nearly human.)