A step farther/further

Discussion in 'English Only' started by NLmarkSE, Feb 4, 2015.

  1. NLmarkSE

    NLmarkSE Senior Member

    Dutch (the Nederlands)
    I was just watching this latest news report about a 9/11 hijacker on CNN. After a short introduction, CNN journalist Deborah Feyerick says the following:
    "However, Moussaoui [the hijacker] takes it a step farther, claiming that [...]"

    She's talking about "old claims that have so far been debunked," but now this Moussaoui guy has made even more extreme claims.

    So, since she's not talking about actual physical steps, but about "taking it one step farther (further?)" --claiming that things were even worse than that the US government previously suspected--, shouldn't she have said "one step further instead"?

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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2015
  2. Greyfriar

    Greyfriar Senior Member


    You can use both words as they mean the same. However, further is more commonly used.
  3. NLmarkSE

    NLmarkSE Senior Member

    Dutch (the Nederlands)
    Thanks, but then why the distinction? I would say that e.g. "ask for farther information" is just plain wrong. Why is it OK in this case?
  4. JamesM

    JamesM Senior Member

    It is not just this case. This "rule" has relaxed dramatically. Many native speakers are entirely unaware of it. As a result, it is worth knowing for English grammar tests but you will spend your life as a frustrated reader if you get upset each time you see "farther" used for "further". :)
  5. NLmarkSE

    NLmarkSE Senior Member

    Dutch (the Nederlands)
    Thanks, but by "relaxed" do you mean it's OK to mix them up in casual conversations, like the one on CNN, or do you mean that it would also be OK to write taking it one step farther" in a newspaper article or a novel?

    I understand that during casual conversations no sane person would care (like who, whom), but I just want to know whether it's correct or not.

    Would you say that what she said is wrong, whether you care or not, or that it's a correct way of using "farther"?
  6. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    British English
    As the OED puts it
  7. tunaafi Senior Member

    English - British (Southern England)
    I'd say that 'one step f#rther' is covered by that.
  8. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    British English
  9. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    If the intended meaning is "additional" only further can be used (as in furthermore, and further information). Otherwise, further and farther can be used interchangeably, relating to physical or metaphorical distance or extent. Further discussion can be found here and at the other threads linked therein.

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