I have nothing further to say

This appeared today on yahoo.com and nothing could be further from accurate than this use of farther:

Confused about the difference between further and farther? Here’s what the American Heritage Dictionary says:

Since the Middle English period many writers have used farther and further interchangeably. According to a relatively recent rule, however, farther should be reserved for physical distance and further for nonphysical, metaphorical advancement. Thus 74 percent of the Usage Panel prefers farther in the sentence If you are planning to drive any farther than Ukiah, you’d better carry chains, and 64 percent prefers further in the sentence We won’t be able to answer these questions until we are further along in our research.

Advertisements

This couldn’t be further from good

This is kinda the mother of all bad word choices on Yahoo! Style:

father than sty

That couldn’t be further from the correct words.

UPDATE: After I took that screen-grab, the paragraph was changed, presumably by an editor. To the editor’s credit, an incorrect pronoun was changed (from their to its) and a hyphen was added to photo-altering. And the father than the truth got a little closer to correct, though it’s still wrong:

father than sty 2

If you mean a physical distance, then farther is correct; for a metaphorical distance, the correct word is further.

This couldn’t be further from correct

Maybe it was a silver dollar. And maybe the silver dollar was rolling down a hill. And it rolled farther than it had before. If that were the case, then this word usage on Yahoo! Finance would be correct:

farther fin

Nothing could be further from the truth. If you’re describing a physical distance, then farther is the right word; otherwise, the right word is further.

Nothing could be further from correct

Using farther couldn’t have been further from correct on Yahoo! Style:

farther cel

Unless the distance from the truth is measurable, the correct word is further. Need further explanation? See the American Heritage Dictionary.

That couldn’t be further from correct

This couldn’t be further from the correct word on Yahoo! Celebrity:

farther cel

The writer should know that farther refers to physical distances and further for nonphysical measurement. According to the American Heritage Dictionary:

Many writers since the Middle English period have used farther and further interchangeably. A relatively recent rule, however, states that farther should be reserved for physical distance and further for nonphysical, metaphorical advancement. The Usage Panel has favored this rule for some time. In our 1987 survey, 74 percent of the Usage Panel preferred farther in the sentence If you are planning to drive any farther than Ukiah, you’d better carry chains, while 64 percent preferred further in the sentence We won’t be able to answer these questions until we are further along in our research. While the use of both adverbs was acceptable in these examples in our 2009 survey, only 62 percent accepted the use of further in the drive sentence quoted above, and only 58 percent accepted farther in the research example. Approval of usage following the rule was nearly unanimous.

After further investigation…

After further investigation of the Yahoo! front page, I’ve decided that farther is the correct word:

fp further east

If you’re describing a physical distance, use farther; further is further from correct.

That is further from correct

Could this word be any further from correct? Not really, unless the yahoo.com had written asparagus. That would be way further from the right word:

fp farther

The adverb farther should be used for physical distances only; use further for nonphysical advancement.

Nothing says ‘I don’t give a crap’ like umf

There’s lots of bad writing on the Internet, even by paid professionals. And when they don’t give a crap about their writing, you’ll likely see factual errors, misspellings, and incorrect word choices. That’s what I was thinking when I read this on Yahoo! Travel:

breakfast travel 1

This is allegedly about something called “Hearty Eggs,” but nothing could be further from the truth. It’s really about haggis. It’s clear the writer was a tad confused about her subject, just as she was confused about the difference between further and farther, the word that refers to real, physical distance.

But nothing says “I don’t give a sh*t” like umf, which I take to be a lazy writer’s attempt at oomph. Umf is not a word, but it is an abbreviation and according to the Urban Dictionary it means “ugly motherf***er,” which I don’t think the writer meant. Although if she reads this, she may be thinking that.

Further evidence

Many writers and some editors don’t realize that there’s a difference between the words further and farther. And they all seem to work on yahoo.com:

fp farther

Here’s what the American Heritage Dictionary says:

Since the Middle English period many writers have used farther and further interchangeably. According to a relatively recent rule, however, farther should be reserved for physical distance and further for nonphysical, metaphorical advancement. Thus 74 percent of the Usage Panel prefers farther in the sentence If you are planning to drive any farther than Ukiah, you’d better carry chains, and 64 percent prefers further in the sentence We won’t be able to answer these questions until we are further along in our research.

Moving farther away would have been better

Sometimes it’s not easy to choose the correct word in English, especially when two words (such are further and farther) are close in meaning. Take this caption from Yahoo! TV, for example:

further tv

When you’re writing about distances, use farther, not further. Here’s what the American Heritage Dictionary has to say about farther and further:

Since the Middle English period many writers have used farther and further interchangeably. According to a relatively recent rule, however, farther should be reserved for physical distance and further for nonphysical, metaphorical advancement. Thus 74 percent of the Usage Panel prefers farther in the sentence If you are planning to drive any farther than Ukiah, you’d better carry chains, and 64 percent prefers further in the sentence We won’t be able to answer these questions until we are further along in our research.

%d bloggers like this: