Farther, further, every one, everyone, jibe, gibe, cool, not cool


Notes drawn from The Associated Press Stylebook.

Every one, everyone

Two words when it means each individual item:

Every one of the clues was worthless.

One word when used as a pronoun:

Everyone wants his life to be happy. (Note that everyone takes a singular verb and pronoun.)

farther, further

Farther refers to physical distance: She walked farther into the park.

Further refers to an extension of time or degree: She will look further into the mystery. (A friend of mine solved this problem years ago by saying, “Now if there is no farther business.”)

faze, phase

Faze means to embarrass or disturb: The snub did not faze her.

Phase denotes an aspect or a stage: They will phase in a new system.

it’s, its

It’s is a contraction for it is or it has: It’s up to you. It’s been a long time.

Its is the possessive form of the neuter pronoun. The company lost its assets.

Linoleum is formerly a trademark, now a generic term. It lost its identity. This is why companies so zealously protect the usage of their trademarks.

lion’s share

This term comes from an Aesop’s Fable in which the lion took all the  spoils of a joint hunt. Use it to mean the whole of something, or the best and the biggest portion.

Do not use it to mean majority.


Not milk toast when referring to a shrinking, apologetic person. Derived from Caspar Milquetoast, a character in a comic strip by H.T. Webster.


A single word in adjectival and adverbial use.

gibe, jibe

To gibe means to taunt or sneer. They gibed him about his mistakes.

Jibe means to shift direction, or colloquially, to agree: They jibed their ship across the wind.Their stories didn’t jibe.

Personal note: It’s red-haired person, not red-headed.

And now a paragraph from Webster’s Word Histories:

In the 1940s the word cool took on a new meaning in the world of jazz — “relaxed, restrained and understated” describes the cool jazz that developed during this period in contrast to the swing and Dixieland styles. Within this world cool was then applied to anything that met with approval. It took the place of good, great and excellent. This usage became widespread throughout the hip world and was even more loosely applied  — the best was the coolest.

In my opinion, cool will always be with us, and it will always be cool to use cool, but it is not cool to use cool in some of the more formal settings.

Gillis Morgan is an associate professor emeritus of journalism at Auburn University and an award-winning columnist. He can be reached at morgarg7@aol.com


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