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Is there an equivalent like "further" of "less far"?

"I still have energy, so I want to run further."

vs

"I am out of energy, so I want to run [word meaning less distance]"

  • In this context, just about the only word that can fill the blank and still be idiomatic is "less". In another context, the opposite of further is nearer. The giraffe is nearer to the tree than the rhino. But one does not "run nearer". – Dan Bron Apr 17 '15 at 19:42
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    @DanBron That's a different sense of further. – Barmar Apr 17 '15 at 21:13
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Further (as opposed to "farther") refers to continuing a movement along a path or direction. "I want to run further" means, "I want to continue running [down this road], and not stop right now." This is the sense of your first statement, and would presumably be stated during the run itself. The opposite would mean something strange like, "I want to run less down this road than I have already run" or "I want to have run a smaller amount than I just ran."

As opposed to "I want to run farther", which refers to the overall measured distance run, and does not imply continuing. This is the usage that matches your second statement. This would be used probably while planning the run itself, not during or at the end of the run. The opposite of this might be, "I am low on energy, so I'd like to run less than usual." More likely, this would come out as, "I am low on energy, so I'd like to cut the run short."

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I have a similar issue, and my solution was 'a lesser distance' as in:

"This means that the mass will have little momentum and will therefore travel a lesser distance."

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The context-appropriate direct opposite of further is probably less distance. Further relates to far, which can be used as an adverb, making less far a theoretically perfect opposite for further. But less far is just not an expression in widespread use.

"I am out of energy, so I want to run less distance."

This could be is slightly awkward except in the context of a pre-run discussion. It wouldn't make sense when you've been running and are already tuckered out.

If you have already been running and want to quit, I think the most likely way to reverse this sentence is not to take the opposite of further, but to negate the clause.

"I am out of energy, so I don't want to run further."
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    1.

"I still have energy, so I want to run further."

means:

"I still have energy, so I want to go on running."

    2.

"I am out of energy, so I want to run [word meaning less distance]"

could be phrased as:

"I am out of energy, so I want to run /less/shorter distances/."

or, alternately:

"I am out of energy, so I want to stop running."

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