I'm a little confused about the proper usage of Far and Far Away.

For example, if a friend asks me to go out with him for dinner and I want to tell him that I cannot go very far from where I am right now - without having to refer to my current location - how will I say it?

Direct translation from my language would be something like: I can't go very far.

Also, please give a few examples to explain the use of Far and Far Away.

1 Answer 1


Far and far away technically have pretty much exactly the same meaning; however, because far away has two words instead of one, it generally has a bit stronger feeling to it (this is true in general: The more words you add to a term or phrase, the stronger the impression), and thus is usually used to describe longer distances. Far away can also sometimes have the implication of "out of reach" in some way.

So if you're talking about the difference between going down the block vs. across the city, you would probably just use far. If you're talking about the difference between going to the next town over, or across the continent, then you might use far away instead:

I was thinking of going to a restaurant, but I can't go very far.

I need to choose a university to attend, but I don't want to move very far away.

For the situation you described, your answer ("I can't go very far") is perfectly fine. Saying "I can't go very far away" is also OK (it's not wrong), but it's just not what most people would probably say in that case.

  • It seems to me there's also a syntactic difference, in that He comes from far away and He comes from afar are both fine (though the latter is a bit poetic / dated). But He comes from far doesn't work at all. Commented Nov 20, 2019 at 18:37
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    @FumbleFingers Good point! I suppose I should have said when used in this way their meanings are the same. You are quite correct that "far away" can also be used as a noun to refer to "a place which is far away", whereas "far" cannot (it can only ever be used as an adjective/adverb).
    – Foogod
    Commented Nov 20, 2019 at 18:51
  • I upticked your comment, but I'm not sure how it plays out with, say, He doesn't live far To be honest, I can't exactly decide how [un-]comfortable I am with that usage. Commented Nov 20, 2019 at 19:04
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    In that case, I believe "far" is an adverb (modifying "live"), which I think is actually fine, though I admit I would probably use "far away" in that case anyway..
    – Foogod
    Commented Nov 20, 2019 at 20:04

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