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Words Yangtze

Suggest improvements for the highlighted problem areas:

Vacation Journal, 14 August:

We are being delayed briefly in Hangchow, but we will depart momentarily. Our guide, Wu Liyao, explained that our exploreation will take us slowly through the Yangtze delta to the ocean. She inferred that it would be a long trip. Along the way we will see the levees built 1200 years ago on both sides of the river. Each levee composes two sturdy embankments for a distance of 200 kilometers. There is excitment in our tour group. I am eager to see the ancient walls, but I am anxious about the weather. The previous tour boat had to stop 20 kilometers from the ocean. Bad weather kept them from going further.


- Further versus Farther -

Here is another set of English words with meanings that slowly change with popular usage. Some people now insist that further can be substituted for farther. However, purists disagree. The final sentence in the opening paragraph uses the word further in a way that purists dislike:

    Bad weather kept them from going further.

The word further refers to figurative distance. For example: We discussed the tour further. It can refer to figurative time, space, or amount. The word farther refers to literal distance, which is clearly the meaning in our sentence:

    Bad weather kept them from going farther.

As a general rule, use farther when the distance can be measured with a ruler, and use further when it cannot. To memorize the rule, try using a mnemonic such as:

    The farther apart in feet, the further we burn to be sweet.


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