- adverb very nearly but not completely: We've almost finished. | We stayed there for almost a week. | almost every: They sold almost everything. | almost all: Almost all the children here speak two languages. | an almost impossible task | wines which are almost as expensive as champagne | almost certainly: The cause is almost certainly a virus. USAGE NOTE: ALMOST WORD CHOICE: almost, nearly, hardly, scarcely, very, extremely Both almost and nearly can be used before words like all, every, and everybody: Almost/nearly all (of) my friends came to the party (NOT Almost of my friends came... or Almost my friends came...). Both can also be used before negative verbs: I almost/nearly didn't get up in time. However, you do not use not with hardly or scarcely:There was scarcely enough time to take a shower. Almost (NOT nearly) can be used before any and negative words like no, nobody, never, and nothing.Almost no one came to the party (NOT Nearly no one...). | You can find the meaning of almost any word here . However, it is more usual to use hardly or scarcely with any, anybody, ever etc than almost with no, nobody, never etc: For example, you are more likely to hear: Hardly anybody came to the party than: Almost no one came to the party. You can use not before nearly, but not usually before almost: She's not nearly as pretty as her sister (NOT She's not almost as pretty...). Both nearly and almost can be used with adjectives that have an extreme meaning: nearly/almost perfect/frozen/dead/impossible . However, they are not usually used with other, less extreme, adjectives. In these cases you are more likely to use very or extremely: The schools are extremely good there (NOT nearly good).| The coast was very rocky (NOT almost rocky). Nearly is more commonly used in British English, while almost is more common in American English.
Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.