Business Writing Essentials
What should we do when we encounter a pair of words that people use interchangeably? We know that the reason there is a pair of words is that there were originally two different meanings. But should we choose our word based on common usage? Or should we choose our word based on a strict definition? The answer is: we should choose based on our best judgment, but we should be willing to change our choice if our boss has a different preference.
See Farther, Think Further
Not all experts agree with each other on the use of farther and further. The easiest way to avoid disagreements is to use them the way they were originally defined:
- farther refers to literal distance, something you can see and measure.
- further refers to figurative distance, something more conceptual than actual.
Also, only further should be used as a substitute for moreover or in addition.
Here's a memory aid that might help:
The farther apart in feet,
The further we burn to be sweet.
Less Stuff, Fewer Things
Some nouns refer to things that can be observed but not counted:
The amount of interest in the concert was surprising.
Other nouns refer to things that can be counted:
The number of tickets sold surprised us.
When the amount is reduced, there is less stuff:
There was less interest than I had expected.
When the count is reduced, there are fewer things:
There were fewer tickets sold than we had expected.
Lesson: Further Amount
Course: Business Writing Essentials