For years I’ve suffered through Ford’s print and television advertisements. Today I finally did something about it.
If you’ve read my page about apostrophes, ‘Apostrophe Alert,’ you know the story of a late friend who was an apostrophe vigilante. Well, I’ve taken a page from her book and written to the advertising department at Ford Motor Company about their ads that proclaim ‘Go further.’
While there are no apostrophes in that tagline, there is a grammatical error. Simply put, it should read ‘Go farther,’ and that’s what I wrote today in an email to Ford.
If you think about it, it’s a matter of distance. I presume Ford wants their customers to drive far in their vehicles. So one should say ‘farther.’ One does not say, for instance, ‘You’ll go fur,’ but ‘You’ll go far.’ ‘Further’ is a philosophical construct — ‘I’ll have to think about that further,’ for instance, for ‘I’ll have to think about that some more.’
Of course, I have no idea if my one email will make a difference in Ford’s ads, but stranger things are known to happen. Since we’re talking about English here, it’s possible — even likely — there are exceptions to my assertion, but I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that if we remember the ‘fur/far’ distinction, our writing will be correct — in this instance, anyway — and customers will send us letters of praise.