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We noticed that you have not yet logged in to EVE Online. You're just a few steps aways to get started in the world of wealth, power, adventure and opportunity that is New Eden!

EVE Online Customer Support sent me an email that has this text and I've never seen "just a few steps aways". Is it a misprint? Shouldn't it be "a few steps away"?

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    Even if you change "aways" to "away" it still sounds strange. I would have written "You're just a few steps away from getting started..."
    – Readin
    Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 5:21
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    Eve Online's developers, CCP Games, are based out of Iceland, so they may not be native English speakers.
    – Andrew
    Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 5:52
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    I believe aways is a vestigial adverbial genitive (in the native wild, that is) -- the particular quote does not seem idiomatic to me for other reasons; it should be a step aways from getting.
    – TimR
    Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 12:52

2 Answers 2

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Make no mistake, it's a typo. you're just a few steps away from something is a very popular expression in English. This expression, however, is not listed in any known to me dictionary for some inexplicable to me reason, but I personally hear it a lot. And it fits the context perfectly too because that's the kind of phraseology they often use in marketing and advertising. The sentence otherwise just doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Example:

You're just a few steps aways from finally making your dream come true. All you have to do is pick up your phone and dial the following number.

And as Readin pointed out in his comment, it actually would be better to say away from getting started.

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    Not sure why the phrase would need to be in a dictionary: the meaning of "just a few steps away" is immediate from the definitions of the individual words, with "steps" meaning either the things you take when walking (e.g., "You're just a few steps away from Starbucks") or "actions/stages" (as in the question) as appropriate. Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 14:14
  • Whether it's a typo, colloquialism, or mistaken belief that "away" has to be pluralized to match "steps" isn't quite clear. Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 16:26
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I believe the quotation is from someone who has heard native speakers use aways, but they haven't got it quite right. This would be idiomatic:

You're just a step aways from getting...

aways is a (vestigial) adverbial genitive.

Did you see a roan mare come a-gallopin by?
--I reckon I did. She went off that-aways.

Or

People came from as far aways as Chicago.

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  • That's interesting. If I came up to you and told you that there was something wrong with that quote and asked you to modify it, how would you change it? Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 13:14
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    I don't think your first quote is very idiomatic, I don't think I've ever seen "aways" there, just "away". As for your second, that does remain as an idiom.
    – jaxad0127
    Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 15:53
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    Agree with @jaxad0127, I've never heard "aways" used like that (native speaker). The closest I've seen is "you're a ways away from getting..." or "there's a ways to go", which implies you are a long way away Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 16:11
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    Just saying as a native speaker I can't recall ever seeing that in modern speech. Dialect differences should probably be called out on a site like this.
    – jaxad0127
    Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 17:57
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    You will hear it more often than you see it.
    – TimR
    Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 18:18

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