"David and Emma live far away in the mountains."

What grammatical role do the words "far" and "away" have in that sentence?

I realize that "far away" must be an adverbial, that can be both a complement and an adjunct, when I consider the following sentences. David and Emma live far away. David and Emma are far away.

However, I'm looking for more details about the syntax within the phrase "far away". What other phrases exist with the same syntax and function? Is there a technical term here?

I'm asking in case there is something worth teaching here to my ESL students.

  • 3
    Phrases with similar syntax include "close together", "far behind", "deep within", "high above", "slightly apart". Mar 3, 2019 at 13:21
  • 1
    The bullet was lodged in deep.
    – TimR
    Mar 3, 2019 at 21:23
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    Looking at the historical development of away may shed some light. It was a prepositional phrase that has become a "word". It meant "from here" or "from there", "on (one's) way from a place". There's a deictic or projected-deictic element to away.
    – TimR
    Mar 3, 2019 at 21:30

1 Answer 1


Using the framework of the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, far away is a preposition phrase functioning as complement of live. The head of the PP is far, which, in turn, takes a PP complment, which is headed by the preposition away. This chain of PP complements could be extended even further by adding PP from home.

  • 1
    Indeed, within which is another PP home! Apr 12, 2021 at 2:15

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