School may be out for the summer, but Grammar Guru is never off duty. Have you ever wondered if you just used “further” correctly? Or should it have been “farther”? Why do some people say “towards,” but you thought it was “toward?!” Are “all right” and “alright” the same? Let’s decipher the slight differences between these word pairs. Watch the video and read along!
Further vs. Farther
People use these words most often as adverbs to mean “more distant.” In American English, however, we typically use “farther” when discussing literal, measurable distance and “further” when talking about figurative distance. How often do you hear, “That could not be further from the truth!” There is a distance there, but it’s imaginary. So that’s why “further” is used.
FARTHER as an adverb
CORRECT: He traveled the farthest of everyone.
CORRECT: The farther away from the road we set up camp, the quieter it will be.
CORRECT: Before you run any farther, take a break.
FURTHER as an adverb
CORRECT: Before you complain further, hear me out.
CORRECT: They won’t be taking the lawsuit further.
CORRECT: Before we discuss further, let’s take a break.
FURTHER as an adjective
Further will often be used as an adjective meaning “additional.”
CORRECT: I need further information.
CORRECT: No further questions, please.
FURTHER as a verb
To further something can mean to continue it.
CORRECT: I can’t further my career without going back to school.
Just remember: where there is no mention of physical distance, use further. Use farther if you are talking about distance.
Toward vs. Towards
These words are exactly the same, and both are generally correct. We use toward more in the United States and Canada. The United Kingdom and Australia use towards.
NOTE: In no part of the universe is anyways correct. It has never been, and it never will be. It is anyway 100% of the time.
All right vs. Alright
It’s not all right to use alright!
Alright is a much newer and smushed form of all right. In formal writing, always use all right.
Do you have a topic you’d like me to discuss? Email [email protected]. See you next month!
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