Every week I will demonstrate an example of poor English where a different word is used from the one intended. Sometimes this creates a grammatically incorrect sentence. Unfortunately, the mistake is usually so pervasive that we all do it and such errors are usually made by those who should know better – journalists working for national or global media outlets such as newspapers and television.
Ok, you got me. This is one I didn’t realise until a few weeks ago. I took up running last summer and so the whole time I was running a greater distance and proudly telling people that, I was using the wrong word!
Do you know the difference? Farther is what we mean when we refer to a distance travelled. Further is actually a description of something a little more abstract, for example to a higher level or a greater authority.
“I ran 3 miles this morning. That’s half a mile farther than I was running last week.”
“If I want to be able to run marathons, I’m going to have to further intensify my training regime.”
Although these are the correct definitions, both the Oxford English Dictionary and the American dictionary say that using “further” is fine if what is being described is ambiguous.