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Sunday, June 2, 2024

Word Usage: Six of one, half dozen of another

cj Sez: I was doing some more rabbit hole searches to confirm a word usage in my work-in-progress and found tons of instances of questionable word usage. Inspired by a recent Facebook meme friend posted, today I’ll share a few examples of what I found—because I have to admit to being a bit of a grammar nerd.

(p.s. The result verbiage are excerpts from the various internet sources.)

Further and farther
People often use both further and farther to mean “more distant.”
Further can be an adverb, an adjective, or a verb, meaning “additional.”
Further as a verb: “He’d do anything to further his own interests at the company.”

Farther means “at or to a greater distance” and cannot be used as a verb.
In Salt to the Sea, Ruta Sepetys says: “And some boats, like me, seemed to float farther and farther from land.”

Are further and farther impossible to tell apart from one another? If you remember that only further can mean “moreover,” you shouldn’t have much difficulty.

Than and then
The word than is used for comparisons to show who or what something is compared against. For example, “cats are smarter than dogs.” The word then is used to show time, as in “at that time” or “after that happened.” For example, “I exercised then took a shower.”

Past and passed
Past refers to time or events that have already happened, while passed is the past tense of the verb pass and is used to indicate completed actions or events. For example, “She finally passed the driving test, leaving all her doubts in the past.”

This and that
This, that, these, and those are demonstratives. We use this, that, these and those to point to people and things. This and that are singular. These and those are plural. We use them as determiners and pronouns.

Versus vs. verses
Versus is a preposition that refers to comparing two or more things or being against something. There are many advantages of a gasoline car versus a diesel car (and now we have to also compare both of those versus an electric or hybrid car).

Verses is a noun that refers to the lines of a poem or song. It is the plural form of the word verse. The verses of the poem “Daffodils” by William Wordsworth are eternally famous and enjoyable.


Stephen King: “Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent.”


  Okay, that’s it for today. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. Raising prayers for a happy and safe you and yours.


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