Sunday, January 27, 2008

Saturday Usage Tip #3 (On Sunday)

Sorry for the delay. I've been sick.

farther; further. Both are comparative degrees of far, but they have undergone differentiation. In the best usage, farther refers to physical distances, further to figurative distances--e.g.:
  • "After popping in to say hellp to Sue's dad, we walked further [read farther] up Main Street to the Maritime Museum."
  • "But the sheriff's department did not investigate further after YMCA officials were unwilling to pursue the matter."
  • "Some people walk no farther than the synagogue on the Sabbath."
  • "But the employees at One Marine Midland Center take teh spirit of giving a step farther [read further]."

The superlatives--farthest and furthests--follow the same patterns. Furthermost is a fairly rare equivalent of farthest (not furthest)--e.g.: "That was the furthermost [read furthest] thing from the company's mind."

Garner's Modern American Usage, 2003, p. 340. Quotations and citations omitted.

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