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Let's say I'm a pitcher in a baseball game, standing on the pitcher's mound which is supposed to be 100m away from the batsman. Someone messes up the mound and moves it 50 m further, making it 150 m away from the batsman.

How should I report this error if I want to ask a rhetorical question before pointing out the mistake? I want to say:

Why is this pitching spot so much ahead/forward of the normal spot? It needs to be taken back 50 meters.

Is using ahead/forward okay? Or should I use something else?

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Why is this pitching mark further away than it should be? It should be 50m nearer to the batsman. –  spiceyokooko Jan 6 '13 at 12:10
    
In fact, you just used further yourself. –  RegDwigнt Jan 6 '13 at 12:18
    
You specified baseball. The pitcher faces the batter, not the batsman. In cricket, the bowler faces the batsman. Also, for the record, the pitcher's back foot must be 60' 6" (~18.44 meters) away from home plate. There is no human being alive who could pitch from 50 meters, let alone 150. –  Robusto Jan 6 '13 at 12:31
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@Robusto I didnt say baseball, someone edited it. I said a game because I knew I did not know the specification of distance. I just used batsman, pitcher –  Dude Jan 6 '13 at 12:38
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1 Answer

I would suggest you are looking in the wrong direction if the distance is further than expected. "Forward" is "towards the target"; "back" is "away from the target".

Normally one would say the spot has been placed back from its expected position, and needs to be moved forward towards the target:

Why is this spot so far back from its normal position? It needs to be taken forward 50m.

Even if it's the batsman asking, he would still use forward and back to explain the relationship to the target, but the verb would change to indicate the motion towards him (and this would change to that of course).

Why is that spot so far back from its normal position? It needs to be brought forward 50m.


Having got that out of the way, it's possible to address ahead and forward. Let's say the pitching spot is at 50m instead of 100m. Either word will do, but forward seems more natural. Ahead indicates a separation from the speaker and the point in question; someone standing at the right place and peering at the marked spot in the distance might use ahead.

Why is the spot so far forward of the right place?
Why is the spot so far ahead of where it should be?

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As an aside, 100m is a very long way to throw a ball at a batsman! –  Andrew Leach Jan 6 '13 at 12:26
    
This. Since the pitcher is facing the batter, back would be the correct direction. –  Robusto Jan 6 '13 at 12:26
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