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Hello everyone,
I can't work out why it sounds wrong to say "When he saw her, she was very far". Given that "far" is an adjective, why do you have to say "she was very far away"?
Many thanks,
Arbi
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Hi,

I can't work out why it sounds wrong to say "When he saw her, she was very far". Given that "far" is an adjective, why do you have to say "she was very far away"?

I wouldn't say 'she was far' is wrong. I'd say we prefer not to say that, ie it's not idiomatic.

Best wishes, Clive
This is what my dictionary says, but I'm not sure if it's true.

Far is used mainly in questions and negative sentences. In other kinds of sentences use a long way away: The airport is quite a long way away (NOT is quite far).

Isn't it possible to use "far" in affirmative sentences? Not even if you add some modifier?

EDIT: I just realized that you can actually say "That is way too far", so that rule is just confusing. I just checked what Swan has to say on this, and he suggest using "a long way" instead. But... can't I say something like this?
She was standing far away from the bomb when it exploded.
I don't think I have to say:
She was standing a long way from the bomb when it exploded.

I'm just confused.
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Hi,

You can certainly say this.

She was standing far away from the bomb when it exploded.

I haven't looked at Swan on this topic, but I imagine he is saying that we usually don't say

She was standing far away from the bomb when it exploded.

In other words, the point at issue is the use of 'far' by itself.

Best wishes, Clive
You need either "from X" or "away." Otherwise, it's like saying, When I saw her, she was several miles. At least, that's the way it would be taken.

"Distant" is only a little better. "When I saw her, she was still quite distant." It's certainly correct, but it's unnatural. It might be taken to mean she was spaced out.

She was still [at] a good distance from the house.
She was still a good distance away.

There's nothing wrong with, "The airport is quite far/distant from the center of town."

The parameters of the distance described don't have to be in the same sentence:
What kind of a trip is it from here to the airport? (reply) It's quite far. (This is idiomatic, in my opinion.)

Even this seems natural: You'd better hurry! It's quite far to the airport!

Without context, "The airport is far" seems strange.
But "You'd better hurry. The airport is far" doesn't seem that unusual in casual conversation.
It's a long way to the airport is more common, but I don't think we must always use the most common expression. (I guess that would be great for Google!)
Ok, I see. I knew that was a weird rule, lol.
Thanks!
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Clive I haven't looked at Swan on this topic, but I imagine he is saying that we usually don't say
She was standing far away from the bomb when it exploded. Don't you find "from" sufficient here, Clive - as in "Far From the Madding Crowd'? Is this considered old fashioned?