Monday, July 30, 2012

further or farther?

I've never understood the difference between "further" and "farther" and a quick google search tells me there is not much of one when the words are used as adverbs.  Some sites say "farther" is preferred.  

I believe the word is being used as an adverb in the sentence "We might go a little bit farther."  This is what Bruce and I were talking about today in a phone conversation.

My work schedule is very busy early in September, the result being a little extra time off later that month or early October.  So maybe an extra day or two on the water.  Our goal is to reach Ocean City, Maryland.  If, and that is a big if, the weather in tides cooperate we could possible make Chincoteague or Wachapreague.  With an extra day, and - again - cooperating weather and tides, we could possibly go a little bit farther and make Oyster or even round the bottom of the peninsula and reach Cape Charles.  We've still got to check on flight schedules and a few other things.

At the very minimum, having the extra day or two gives us more weather days.



Baydog said...

Mom was a teacher for 40+ years and a stickler for proper English. 'Farther' is always the choice when in doubt, according to her. Or is it she?

Tillerman said...


O Docker said...

Mrs. Gruber, my eighth grade English teacher told us that 'farther' refers to physical distances, and that 'further' applied to abstract concepts, as in pursuing a subject or an argument 'further'.

But Mrs. Gruber was probably making that up, like so much of the stuff concocted by arbiters of English usage when they're not really sure themselves and just want some arbitrary rule that will make grading papers easier.

Steve said...

I agree, they do make that stuff up. I attempted to read an article a couple of weeks ago about when to use a comma in a sentence. The distinctions in the piece were so convoluted - comma - the examples so indistinguishable - comma - I decided I didn't really care.

As far as I'm concerned - comma - this blog is a celebration of sailing, food, books, bad grammar and typos. What more could I aspire to??


Bill said...

Reminds me of the old Victor Borge bit about how to pronounce punctuation.