I'm obviously not a native speaker of English myself, but I think with a spatial meaning, most people would prefer to say close to but near without the to. Near to is more often used to convey an abstract sense, that's probably why it wasn't included to begin with. I don't think it's wrong per se though, so I'll add it.
Thanks! It amazes me how rarely these issues crop up when there are so many ways to say things, especially given the course isn't long out of beta. Really appreciate all your hard work!
Just thinking more about it now, "I live near my parents' house" sounds fine, but I like it better with "to" when I'm talking about my parents, not their house. I guess you're right about the abstractness, but maybe we have different views on what's abstract!
I've got a question and I'd put it in the general Topic:Swedish area, but the last time I posted a question there, it just disappeared (since no one responded to it). So, the question is, what are the pronunciation rules that govern when ä is pronounced /eh/, as in 'föräldrar' and when is it pronounced /ah/ as in 'ungefär'? I've listened to some excellent YouTube videos about pronunciation which I recall addressing how to pronounce the sounds but not when to pronounce them one way or the other. Can anyone help?