Farther and further
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PS--Prescriptive usage is, in some ways, the converse of linguistics.
Further can be used as an adjective in sometihing: "For further information, contact John."
Also, further as a verb, "Mike furthered the agenda by bringing up the ABC contract."
In neither case can farther be interchanged.
Grammar mishaps was a help.
- "We use both _farther_ and _further_ to talk about distance. They mean the same."
- "Further (but not farther) can mean 'additional', 'extra', 'more advanced'". Examples: _further information_ but not _*farther information_; _further education_, but not _*farther education_
FWIW, I learned British English, and for me this doesn't read as a prescriptive rant: it's just the way I use English. _Farther/further_ for physical distance, _further_ for the rest.
Zeppo: Anything further, father?
Groucho: Shouldn't that be "anything farther further?"
There is also the kind of people who say, "Let's not get hung up on this rule thing, but in order for us to understand each other, we have to have SOME rules."
The two types of people neither agree with nor even understand each other.
It is the current fashion to be as descriptive as one wishes. It is a kind of political correctness, yet English usage continues to slide toward incomprehensibility. The language changes; we accept new words, new forms. This is a sign of a healthy language. Yet, these new forms and words need to be subsumed into an already-existing and continuing set of patterns. Otherwise, the entire definition of "language" needs to be changed to "a bunch of words".
I'm for freedom, not for anarchy.