Tag: Thursday


FARTHER and FURTHER both mean “at a greater distance, ” and they often are used interchangeably,  though they aren’t quite the same.

FARTHER typically refers to physical length or distance. It is the comparative form of the word “far” when referring to distance.

FURTHER typically refers to abstract distance. It can also mean “to a greater degree,” or “additional.” It refers to time or amount.

Correct: New York is farther north than Washington, DC. (Refers to physical distance)
Correct: The proper solution requires further study. (Meaning “additional,” refers to amount)
Correct: According to the project timetable, we should be further along. (Refers to time)

TIP: Use FARTHER for physical distance and FURTHER for metaphorical/abstract distance. FARther has FAR in it, and “far” obviously relates to physical distance.


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LEND is a verb meaning “give something to someone for a short time, expecting that you will get it back.”
BORROW is a verb meaning, “get something from someone, intending to give it back after a short time.”

When you give something, you LEND it; when you get or receive something, you BORROW it. “Borrow” and “lend” are reciprocal. You LEND a person a book.  That someone is BORROWING it from you.

“Lend” is what the person who gives the book does, and “borrow” is what the person who receives the book does.

lend —-> (TO) someone
someone —-> borrow (FROM)
Hansel will LEND $1000.00 to Gretel.
Gretel will BORROW $1000.00 from Hansel.

“Lend and borrow” are a verb pair, much like “send and receive,” “offer and accept,” and “sell and buy.” You can’t substitute one for the other; one gives, one receives. They have opposite meanings that correspond to giving and taking, respectively.

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THEN is an adverb relating to time. Depending on its use, it means “at the time” or “afterward.”  For example, “We ate breakfast and then we left for school.”

THAN is a conjunction that is used when comparing two or more things. For example, “Chocolate ice cream is better than strawberry ice cream.”

More examples:

DVDs are more expensive THAN videocassettes.
We ate and THEN we went to the movies.

Memory Trick:

Both “then” and “time” both have the letter “e” in them, and “than” and “comparison” have the letter “a” in them.

thAn = compArison

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FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES is the usual and proper form of the phrase meaning “in every practical sense.” It dates back to English law in the 1500s, originally cited as “to all intents, constructions, and purposes” in the Oxford English Dictionary as early as 1546, and written “to all intents, constructions, and purposes” in an act adopted under Henry VIII in 1547. The “for” instead of “to” came later, at least in America.

The phrase is sometimes misconstructed as “FOR ALL INTENSIVE PURPOSES.” The cause of the confusion is rooted in this phonetic similarity; that is, if you were to say these two forms out loud it might be hard to tell the difference between the two.

Thus, the incorrect “for all intensive purposes” is what is known as an eggcorn, a label invented in the early 2000s by linguist Geoffrey Pullum to describe words or phrases that are misheard and consequently reform into a new word or phrase. The difference is clear when written down, but when spoken, the two words sound very much alike.

You should opt for the proper idiom, “for all intents and purposes,” over the nonstandard alternative. This is especially important in your writing where the alternative is not considered correct.

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There are two issues with this word.  The first is that it is commonly misspelled as DIRTH.

The second issue is the more egregious.  Have you ever heard something like this?

There is such a dearth of sand on this beach!

Many seem to think that DEARTH means “a great amount of.”  It’s actually the opposite!  The word DEARTH means a scarcity of or an inadequate supply.  A more appropriate sentence would be something like …

There is such a dearth of snow on this beach!

One way to remember the correct meaning is that scarcity makes something DEAR to you.  So, DEAR = DEARTH.  It’s also the opposite of PLETHORA, which means an overabundance.

Try this analogy –

PLETHORA : TOO MUCH :: DEARTH :  _______________.

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