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I read here the following sentence :

彼と近くの映画館に行きました。(I went to a nearby movie theater with him.)

Instead of "近い映画館" I would have written "近い映画館". Is there a semantic difference between 近くの映画館 and 近い映画館 ?

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1) 「彼{かれ}と近{ちか}くの映画館{えいがかん}に行{い}きました。」

2) 「彼と近い映画館に行きました。」

Both sentences would be grammatical if grammar were what was being discussed, but we have all seen grammatical sentences that make little to no sense, have we not?

Very few, if any at all, native speakers, however, would actually say 2) verbatim. 1) is far more natural-sounding and it is what we say.

This is basically a matter of collocation, so you might want to just memorize it as is without trying to "translate" because if you translated, both sentences would only look equally good.

1) is so perfect (and neutral) in every way that it can be used anywhere in a writing or conversation.

2), however, is not like that at all. It cannot appear at the beginning of a writing or conversation. It needs a certain context where multiple movie theaters are being discussed in terms of the distances from a certain physical point, such as where one's home is. Even then, however, it would be more natural and correct to say:

「彼と近い方{ほう}の映画館に行きました。」 ("I went to the nearer theater with him.")

Again, a discussion of distances among multiple theaters would be a prerequisite here. This sentence cannot be used at the beginning of a writing or conversation.

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