[Ads-l] Trivia WRT "far afield"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Sep 6 22:22:26 UTC 2015

The New Yorker quotes C.E.O. Larry Page of Google as writing.

"... projects far afield _from_ its search-engine roots."


My initial reaction was, "That should be '... far afield_of_ [NP] ...!"

Then, I second-thoughted: "Wait. 'Far afield *of* [NP]' doesn't sound
right, either."

A quickie Books-Googling finds "far afield from" from 1834 and "far afield
of" from 1836, but there are several more instances of _of_ than of _from_.
Only "far afield" is found, 1500-1799, modulo inconsistent spelling.
Web-Googling finds only 114,000 raw hits for _from_ and many fewer, 39,000,
for _of_. There are 644,000 raw hits for "far afield" followed by

Apparently, neither "far afield from" nor "far afield of" sounds right
because both of them are relatively new and very rare. Page should have
written simply,

"... far from ..."

Unless he's paying himself by the word, of course.


All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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