I like to think that I’m not too much of a language snob, but suspect that I am really. I certainly feel my hackles rise when words are used incorrectly, but especially by people who should know better.

I was in our local supermarket this morning and decided to browse the paperbacks, picking up The Map by T S Learner. It looked like the typical conspiracy thriller that I enjoy, but I nearly didn’t buy it after reading the blurb on the back cover.

The sentence that offended me read: ‘But the map will lead him farther than he ever dreamed — into a series of labyrinths with the power to change the world.’

Now it is just possible that the protagonist does indeed travel farther than he ever imagined, but since his adventure only takes him to a few European countries, I don’t think so.

And a map that took you ‘farther than you ever dreamed’  wouldn’t be a very good map, would it?

His journey is surely figurative, not literal, so the map should lead him further, nor farther. It’s the sort of thing that can put me off my dinner.

So there you have it — I am indeed a self-confessed language snob. I still might enjoy the book though.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

5 comments… Add yours
  • rhymeswithplague 27th January 2012

    I must confess I had a little giggle over this post. I am a bit of a language snob myself (you don’t have to agree so readily) and you are absolutely correct about “farther” and “further”. My giggle wasn’t over farther/further but over the fact that — and I hope you leave it just as it is and don’t go back and change it — that the penultimate word in your first paragraph should have been “know”, not “no”.

    You can always claim you are an advocate of simplified spelling just like George Bernard Shaw.

  • Mr Parrot 27th January 2012

    Know, I didn’t leve it as it was! Goodness nose what I was thinking of, but I had spotted it.

  • Roger Green 27th January 2012

    Every time I rant about language in a blog, invariably, I make a typo like yours!

  • Elizabeth 27th January 2012

    Ian, I agree that it is bad form to see a mistake on a professionally produced book, but please don’t become one of those pedants for whom literacy accuracy becomes more important than a person’s feelings or self-esteem. We don’t all find these things easy …

  • Mr Pudding 29th January 2012

    Perhaps Learner’s farther didn’t teach him about the intricacies of English grammar.


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