Attention, Grammar Nazis

I need your help.  Now that I’m slowly being taken seriously as a writer by 15 year old girls and representatives of major media outlets alike, I probably need to start writing with better grammar.  Most of the rules I learned 30 years ago I still remember; I’m just lax in my usage.  I use way too many commas and semicolons, and I’m overly-fond of using “Apparently”, “Anyway,” and “So,” to start my sentences, especially at the start of paragraphs.  These are things I can correct by paying attention.

Yet, one thing I cannot remember is the proper usage of “farther” and “further”.  I pretty much use them interchangeably, and I know that isn’t right.

When is each appropriate?  Can you give me an example of each?

Thank you – I do not have a brain that allows me to pay attention to detail.  If I can return the favor (maybe one day writing a flowery love sonnet for you), let me know.


6 Responses to “Attention, Grammar Nazis”

  1. Eric Says:

    Hey, Slarti. Farther is used with physical distance. (Ex: The farther I drive, the more bored I get.) Further is used with abstract distance or depth. (Ex: I decided to look into the matter further.)

  2. Diana Says:

    I love to listen to Grammar Girl’s podcast, even though I don’t write all that much outside my blog. As a Latin teacher, gnarly grammar issues pop up sometimes, and she’s addressed most of them, including this one. Find it here:

  3. amy Says:

    Your title caught my attention–but Eric beat me to it 🙂

    FWIW, the semicolon is a lost art. If you’re using it properly, good on ya.

  4. bridgett Says:

    Semi-colons are very useful and are still the height of fashion among the people who actually have a sequence of clearly related thoughts. Perhaps it’s just that the number of people who can line up their ideas in a row and make connections between them without busting into LOLcats is diminishing. (I’m grading freshman papers. People who try to model good grammar for their children and insist on some oversight in written communications are my heroes.)

  5. Eric Says:

    I agree with Amy; the semicolon is a lost art. I definitely use it. I wish more people used it; it really spruces things up! 😀

  6. Annechen Says:

    Having been raised in the wild by a pack of feral English Literature professors, I am fairly horrid with grammar. Middle English had little use for it, and Old English is of the opinion grammar was for pansys.

    However, the reminder of “Far, Farther” is one of the few things my teachers were able to slip under the door of the cell. The “Ur, Further” doesn’t make sense unless you live in my head, and it is getting crowded in there, so no sub-letting.

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