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Words Feb. 10

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The rode to victory: “ ‘He’s that kind of player,’ Coach Hal Sepatica said. ‘We had to put the saddle on his back, and we road him.’ ” Paul L. Butt of the geography department at the University of Central Arkansas takes issue with this photo caption in the Feb. 3 Arkansas Times: “ONE ROAD, TWO NAMES: It’s Springer at the Interstate, Confederate further north.” Butt writes, “It is ‘further’ in time, ‘farther’ in space (including Earth surface space, which is what the photo caption was referring to).” That’s the rule I learned too, and I’ll follow it even more devotedly now that it’s been endorsed by a geographer. Who knows more about distance? But I’m compelled to note that not everyone agrees with me and Mr. Butt. This is from Random House: “Although some usage guides insist that only farther should be used for physical distance, (We walked farther than we planned), farther and further have been used interchangeably throughout much of their histories. However, only further is used in the adverbial sense ‘moreover’ (Further, you hurt my feelings) and in the adjectival senses ‘more extended’ (no further comment) and ‘additional’ (Further bulletins came in).” Darrell Wheeler writes, “I find it more than creepy that two newspapers, in the same week, used the same arcane word to describe Ferneau. What’re the chances of this happening strictly by chance?” I don’t know, but I’m reasonably sure the restaurant reviewers of the Arkansas Times and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette didn’t collude on their choice of adjectives. That would indeed be creepy. Since both were writing about a new restaurant, Ferneau, that is named for its chef, Donnie Ferneau, it shouldn’t be terribly surprising that a word meaning “giving one’s name to a place, thing, etc.” — eponymous — crept into both reviews. Wal-Mart wants you to stop reining on their parade: “ ‘For too long, others have had free reign to say things about our company that just aren’t true,’ Chief Executive Officer H. Lee Scott wrote in a news release Thursday.”

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