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Hi,

Sometimes I read the answers from our moderators, I can sense a bit of frustration in their trying to explain the naturalness of a sentence / part of speech.

I've had my share of frustration while trying to show what's natural and what's not in my language to my students. I have encountered situations in which they asked for my help analyzing their speaking patterns, and I could only tell them that sometimes grammatical perfection was the telltale.

There were times when my students got creative with the language and they sounded odd yet good for sitcoms. However, these mishaps could be explained. When I was able to do so, we both had a good laugh.

Naturalness is the cultural thing that has gone through years of selection process. Even what was a norm in the past might sound odd to us today; and the problem is that the great majority of people don't seem to know why!

That said, upon reflecting on the usages of my language, I can sense that the oddity often comes from the awkwardness or addition of words that extraneous in context. There are cases in which a word could be interpreted in more than one way; thus, we tend to shy away from using it in potentially confusing patterns. These patterns are then considered unnatural.

Now, not trying to create more frustration for our native English speaking friends, I still must ask for an opinion on why It's far from here is not as natural as It's a long way from here. Is it true that no native English speaker would use the word far in this context? But isn’t it natural to ask, "How far is it from here?”

Let's take a look at this pattern: It's far enough from here that I think you should .... Why is that pattern is natural, but if we remove the word enough and that I think you should ..., then the remaining part becomes unnatural? Does the word far connote an idea that might create confusion without additional context?

Any comments?

Thanks,
Comments  
Hi Hoa Thai

<< I still must ask for an opinion on why It's far from here is not as natural as It's a long way from here. >>

The word 'far' would usually be preceded by an adverb in your first sentence. For example:

It's unbelievably far from here.
It's too far from here.
It's not far from here.

Those three sentences would all sound natural to me. However, "It's far from here" does not sound very natural.
Hi Amy,
Thank you for your reply. It is interesting to know that the sentence sounds natural just by adding the adverb not .
With the clue that you've just offered, may I ask; does my sentence sound odd because it doesn't qualify the distance or the means to connect / visualize the separation between the two points?
If possible, could you kindly share with me some other words that behave similarly? Maybe that would help me discern a pattern. If not, I can expand my knowledge a bit further than just one word.
Have a nice day,
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"It's far from" is often used in a metaphorical sense rather than a literal sense -- "It's far from certain that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee."
"It's far from accepted standards of decency to spit on the sidewalk," "It's far from my intention to cause trouble" and so on. Maybe that's why we're less likely to use it in the literal sense, unless the standard phrase is broken up by a modifier ("It's pretty far from here.")
Hi Khoff,
That must be it; "is far from done/over/finished/mature/etc..." and even "is far from home" - all of these contain a metaphorical idea as you addressed.
Thank you,
>>>far from done/over/finished>>

Yes, that's a great example of the usage I was trying to think of.
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Hi,
I think you could say that "far" is not used on its own in affirmative sentences.
It's far. <-- Nope
It's very far.
Is it far?
It's not far.

I think it's like "for long". I don't think you can use it in affirmative sentences without adding something else, for example "time" or "while".
I studied for long. <-- Nope
I studied for a long time.
Did you study for long?
I haven't waited for long.

Emotion: smile