From the Index: Sixty-Second Grammar Guide: Further vs. Farther

just-write-rightWhich of these sentences is correct?

A. The farmhouse is only a little further down the road?

B. The farmhouse is only a little farther down the road?

Further is used to denote figurative or “pretend” distance.

Farther is used to denote physical or “real” distance.

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You Can Say That Again! Oh, You Did Say That Again: “Reason Why” Is So Wrong!

So many of us use the phrase—reason why—almost every day in casual conversation, in business communications, on job applications, in research papers, in emails, and even while tweeting, texting, instant messaging and so on!

I hear newscasters say it on television. I hear parents say it to their children in the grocery store when they’re explaining why a child can’t have a toy or a candy bar. I’ve heard teachers say it to their students when teaching a particular lesson. I’ve read it when enjoying a contemporary novel. There’s even a current hit song titled with this phrase.

I liken it to our society’s use of the word “ain’t.” Continue reading You Can Say That Again! Oh, You Did Say That Again: “Reason Why” Is So Wrong!

Do You Write Like You Talk?

“Ma, do you know where my favorite shoes are at,” was a common question I’d ask my mother when I was growing up and leaving my shoes and books and clothes all over the house instead of putting things in my room where they were supposed to go.

“Behind that preposition ‘at’,” she’d say to me.

Of course, at nine years of age I had no idea what she was talking about. My mother, the high school teacher, was trying to give me an English lesson, and I just wanted to find out where I’d left my shoes.

“Why do you always say that when I ask you something?!?!” I finally wanted to know one day, after hearing her say this over and over and over again, and being no closer to finding my shoes or favorite hat or library book. Continue reading Do You Write Like You Talk?