My Writers Circle

Writing => All the Write Questions => Topic started by: Nelodra on January 07, 2009, 03:19:51 PM

Title: farthest or furthest?
Post by: Nelodra on January 07, 2009, 03:19:51 PM
I just wrote this sentence and am not sure if it's right. I always get confused between farthest and furthest.

“It’s all good for you; you’ve been to heaven knows how many other worlds already, but the farthest away I’ve ever been are the Woods of Wokk.”

Is farthest correct, or should I use furthest?

Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on January 07, 2009, 03:50:42 PM
Is farthest correct, or should I use furthest?


I believe farthest is correct Nel
Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: Skip Slocum on January 07, 2009, 04:01:18 PM
I don't want to cloud this issue, but I was under the impression they were interchangeable and just a matter of pronunciation?
I would like to know this for sure too.
Skip
Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: Nelodra on January 07, 2009, 04:31:37 PM
Thanks Alice.

Skip, there is a difference, and I know there's a rule for which one to use. The problem is, I don't know the rule.  :-[

Anybody out there who can tell me the rule?
Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: twisted wheel on January 07, 2009, 04:35:37 PM
the two are interchanged  but there is a difference. farther is best used in your sentence nel because it deals with distance. further is quantity. the further (quantity) you walk, the farther (distance) you get.

TW :)
Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: Nelodra on January 07, 2009, 04:52:05 PM
Thanks.
That's very helpful, TW.  :)
Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: twisted wheel on January 07, 2009, 04:57:51 PM
don't thank me, thank Strunk And White's ELEMENTS OF STYLE :)
Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: Nelodra on January 07, 2009, 05:05:55 PM
 :)
Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: twisted wheel on January 07, 2009, 05:11:34 PM
... the further (quantity) you walk, the farther (distance) you get.

apart from this bit. that's mine ;D
Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: Nelodra on January 07, 2009, 05:28:29 PM
And that's actually the best bit, TW.  :)
Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: GondorianPrincess on January 26, 2009, 10:48:29 PM
Sorry, I've had LOTR on the brain lately....

there is a scene where Sam say's to Frodo that if he takes one more step it would be the farthest he'd ever been from Hobbiton.
Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: Hugh on January 27, 2009, 06:10:40 AM
Just to add a pennyworth to what’s already been said, I have a brilliant book called The Good English Guide, by Godfrey Howard, first published 1993 by Pan Macmillan, London.  Nearly all these kinds of questions are covered.  He says:

Quote:  Some authorities advise that because farther is the comparative of far, it should always be used for distance: “Is there much farther to go?”  But there is no general agreement over this, and in practice there is only one difference between the two variants to remember.  Either can be used about distance: “Rome is farther (further) from London than it is from Brussels.”  But when it comes to time, something additional, or symbolic distance, only further should be used: until further notice; a further payment on account; can we take this further?

Hope this helps.

Hugh
Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: Hugh on January 27, 2009, 09:32:41 AM
Just to add to my last post, it seems that both are correct for distance, so it's a matter of personal preference.  For your sentence, Nelodra, I'd use further, since that is how I would say it if I were talking.  How would you say it?

Hugh
Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: Nelodra on January 27, 2009, 09:55:27 AM
Quite honestly, Hugh, I wouldn't know.
English is not my mother tongue, and sometimes I get confused about little things like these. I'd probably start stammering when I had to choose the correct word in just a flash.  :-[
Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: GondorianPrincess on January 27, 2009, 11:33:37 AM
apparently, they are interchangable. Good. I hate it when there are seperate rules for the use of words.
Gives me a blinking headache!  :'(
Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: Hugh on January 27, 2009, 12:15:54 PM
If you hadn’t said it, I wouldn’t have believed English was not your mother tongue.  You have a greater command of it than a hell of a lot of English people I know.

When it comes to details like farther or further, different from or to (than is considered by some to be an unacceptable Americanism, although it has been used by such British writers as Coleridge, Trollope, Defoe, et al), if I was or were, and so on, I wouldn’t worry too much, whether writing or speaking. 

All you have to do is look in a local English newspaper and you’ll see things like, “He said he was fed up of the Council, who should of . . .”  Both those “ofs” make me cringe, but it’s not much use complaining to the editor, who probably talks like that anyway, and would probably call me a pedantic dinosaur, which I’m not really – honest.

I try to write reasonably grammatically, without going all round the mulberry bush to avoid things like split infinitives, which are quite acceptable today, although they would have got me a bollocking when I was at school.

Keep on as you are, Nelodra – you’ve nothing to fear from the grammar police.
Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: GondorianPrincess on January 27, 2009, 01:00:39 PM
My BF is the grammar police! That's why I'm paying her ten bucks a chapter to edit my book.
maybe it will save me some time. 
Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: Nelodra on January 27, 2009, 04:41:50 PM
If you hadn’t said it, I wouldn’t have believed English was not your mother tongue.  You have a greater command of it than a hell of a lot of English people I know.

Thank you Hugh.  :)

All you have to do is look in a local English newspaper and you’ll see things like, “He said he was fed up of the Council, who should of . . .”  Both those “ofs” make me cringe, but it’s not much use complaining to the editor, who probably talks like that anyway, and would probably call me a pedantic dinosaur, which I’m not really – honest.

I know what you mean. I see the same thing happening in the papers here in my country, in my language. It make me cringe. If teachers, journalists and editors don't even have a basic command of the written language, then how on earth will our children learn to read and writer properly?
About your being called a pedantic dinosaur, in my language, people call me a "mierenneuker" which translates (literally) to ant-fucker.  :o
I think they're just jealous.  ;D
Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: GondorianPrincess on January 27, 2009, 06:35:27 PM
That's usually why I honestly don't follow the rules of writing. I mean, I do, but I do weird
stuff when I write. It makes perfect sense to me. I did this once in a fan fic and someone said it was weird and that I should go back and fix it....

...but their spelling was worse than my grammar...I just laughed. It was too funny.

"U og fix that part. it wa terr  ible...."

WTF!!??

I shall og and do a write - re - no?
Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: Hugh on January 28, 2009, 06:35:40 AM
Superb, Nelodra —  “mierenneuker”  —  love it.  Makes me wish I’d learnt Netherlandish (Dutch? Flemish?).  Years ago, when managing a coffee estate in Tanganyika, I made a few Afrikaner friends, and learnt some juicy rude Afrikaans words, sadly forgotten now, but still remember the odd one in the local African tribal language.

It’s handy to be able to swear in a language others can’t understand.  Can avoid getting a bop on the nose.  Unless, of course, you’re unlucky and the person happens to know what it means, in which case it helps to be able to run fast.  With two hip replacements I can’t do that now, and it’s a long time since I won the boxing cup at prep school, so am a bit careful about using bad language. 

You’ve made my day with “mierenneuker”, but how to you pronounce it?  Could you, perhaps try writing it phonetically?

Hugh 
Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: PretzelGirl on January 28, 2009, 06:48:38 AM
mierenneuker? I'm pronouncing the last part as nuke-er, which I presume is the "fucker"? Haha, I'm going to laugh every time I hear the word "nuke" now.

English is my second language too, actually. Yet I had always been received top grades in English.
Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: Nelodra on January 28, 2009, 09:52:36 AM
Oh dear, that's going to be tricky.

The "eu" in mierenneuker is a sound you don't have in English, so I guess I'd best see if I can upload an audio file in which I just say the word...
Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: GondorianPrincess on January 29, 2009, 04:21:52 PM
I'm American and so I am afraid that I burtcher words! I learned to read Phonetically. So I sound out the letters and sounds. It's terrible for my Japanese.! *lol*
Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: Hugh on January 30, 2009, 05:55:12 AM
Nelodra, maybe you could sing it ...

I am a guitar plucker
I like to sing, too
Don’t want to be an (mierenneuker)
Well, would you?

As you can see, I'm no poet, but perhaps you can think of something.

Hugh
Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: GondorianPrincess on January 30, 2009, 11:04:01 AM
*lol*

that's cute! I can't sing though, always off keeeeeyyyyy!!!

Wait, does Plucker hryme with Meirenneuker? like the last few letters are supposed to be "uk" as in "yuk!"
Title: Re: farthest or furthest?
Post by: Nelodra on January 30, 2009, 12:20:30 PM
Nope.
It's really a sound that doesn't exist in English. Not as far as I can think of, anyway.

Since you guys are going to keep bothering me, I'll make an audio file where I say the word. Just that one word. I'll upload it to boxstr.com and give you the link so you can download it, if you wish.

There.