SimpleMarkup #190 – A Word Too Far

Last week was crazy busy workwise, and this week is even worse, but a quick one-week hiatus was enough to help me recover some creative comic-writing juices, and SimpleMarkup is back this week with a common struggle for writers (and some editors).

This comic was inspired by a post I saw in a Facebook group, and while I’m not one of those who is regularly confused by the more standard uses of farther/further, there are definitely some gray areas that confuse me.

For example, what if the word is simply being used to mean “more” but is a physical distance? To my ears, further works better than farther: “My body is so sore. I can’t go any further!”

In this case, I tend to go with further, since one of the definitions of further is “to a greater degree or extent.” It’s still something that gives me pause, however.

But in fiction editing, you can’t always apply rules rigidly. What I usually do is follow the rules for narration, but I let usage go and even let it remain inconsistent in dialogue, since people tend to just speak in varying ways. How do you handle this?

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