Even though I’m an editor enforcing many grammar rules, I know I don’t know it all.
Case in point: further vs farther.
At a previous job, I allowed the use of “farther” in an ad campaign, thinking it was completely interchangeable with “further.”
Boy, I could not be further mistaken.
The client questioning the wording was a global client, meaning it would’ve been translated into different languages. That was my first real-life introduction into learning that “farther” represents physical distance and “further” means metaphorical distance.
Sally ran farther in the marathon than Sam.
“Don’t dream it; do it. Take your business further.”
Grammar Girl provides a simple trick to remember which ones to use when—”far” refers to physical distance so you’ll always want “farther” when speaking literally.
I’m an editor of medical and pharmaceutical materials. In my industry, the predominant style manual is American Medical Association Manual of Style with the Chicago Manual of Style as a backup. As a result, my writing (and editing) is influenced by the AMA manual. On my blog, you’ll find the following:
Of course, this is a blog, informal writing, therefore, I’ll deviate from some of those rules at times (healthcare as one word; period after Dr.; a sentence beginning with an Arabic numeral), but for the most part, grammar and punctuation use that seem foreign may actually be intentional.
But all style manuals agree: The word “data” is plural, eg, data are, data were…
Nerve-racking vs nerve-wracking is a word I have always messed up. I tend to think that it’s spelled nerve-wracking but it’s actually spelled without the “w.” Think about how nerve-racking it is not to use a W.
The “mental torment” meaning of “rack” in “rack your brain” and “nerve-racking” comes from the idea of the physical torment of stretching bodies on the rack. Those are both spelled R-A-C-K.
Grammar Girl also notes the using “wrack” is archaic. “Wrack” is a sister of the word “wreck,” which is in relation to ships. So, unless you want to nerve-ship, use nerve-racking.
Convalesce means “to become healthy and strong again after illness or weakness.”
In a sentence, I suppose the appropriate way to use the word would be to say, “After a bout with the flu, I am convalescing.” I don’t even know if that’s the appropriate conjugation OR spelling for the verb. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Today’s word is sanatorium:
1 : an establishment that provides therapy combined with a regimen (as of diet and exercise) for treatment or rehabilitation
2a : an institution for rest and recuperation (as of convalescents)
2b : an establishment for the treatment of the chronically ill
Sanatorium is a noun, but I can’t figure out a way to use it without referring to definition 2b. I guess rehabs are also considered sanatoriums?