I’ve been thinking about the phrase “few and far between.” I think I understand it. I could say — there are gas stations in the desert, but they are few and far between.

What if I reverse the phrase to “far and few between?”

Could I say — there are gas stations in the desert but they are far and few between?

Does it mean the same as the first phrase or is it nonsense?

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  1. Brady

    Sounds like nonsense to me. The “between” in “few and far between” references distance, and therefore needs to be attached to the word “far.” There are few gas stations, and it is a far distance between them.

    August 8th, 2014 3:48 pm

  2. Spinster78

    Obviously not. The thousands of gas stations in LA are far and few between. The gas stations from Lone Pine to Yosemite are few and far between.

    It’s an “in” and “from” thing.

    August 8th, 2014 3:51 pm

  3. Leo

    You seriously get paid to do this for a living? Talk about a dream job.

    August 8th, 2014 4:18 pm

  4. CohnZohn

    Leo, I have a dream job. I love it. But I don’t get paid to write blogs. I get paid to write 4 columns a week. The blogs I do for free. Sometimes by mistake I say far and few between and I wondered if it made a difference. What do you think?

    August 8th, 2014 4:24 pm

  5. mike

    Actually, in my estimation, the two phrases mean two different things. Few and far between means , to me, there are few of anything, like gas stations, and there is distance between them.

    The far and few between, to me, means the gas stations are a ways off and there are few between the first one and the last one.

    To me, the few and far between is more applicable and makes more sense than the far and few between.

    I would be more concerned about the few and far between, as driving on the original I-5 was years ago, then the far and few between because in this case, I would gas up now.

    August 8th, 2014 4:31 pm

  6. Dennis

    I think “few and far between” is a measurement between gas stations in your first example. “Far and few between” is the measurement between your location and gas stations.

    August 8th, 2014 4:38 pm

  7. chris

    Greg Papa made a big blunder with words tonight on live TV after a Viking punt…..he wanted to say it was a short kick but instead went back to the word punt and somehow used the first letter of kick and attached it to punt……really bad. He had to correct himself which made it stand out even more…….the first preseason game can be brutal for the players and announcers I guess…….

    August 8th, 2014 7:49 pm

  8. Neal

    Looks like the Mary Jane has helped your sleeping but made you loopy overall.

    August 8th, 2014 8:18 pm

  9. Johnc

    Ahh, if only you thought to pose that question to Jonny Gomes.

    August 8th, 2014 10:19 pm

  10. CohnZohn

    johnc, Gomes would have thought I was nuts.

    August 9th, 2014 9:08 am

  11. Nancy R

    I saw the Giants play the Royals in Kansas City yesterday (Sun). Lincecum is a delight to watch even when he gives up 4 runs in the first inning. I hope fans like the ones behind us are few and far between. These four drunk guys (one dressed as a Santa Claus in “Royal “Blue) were taunting the players. They yelled loudly “Lincecum” at the moment he was about to release the pitch. They were near the field in about the 12th row. It was embarrassing. No one around them liked it. I felt kind of ashamed being a Royals as well as a Giants fan. It denigrates everyone when fans cross the line into bad behavior. Next time I hope I speak up.

    August 11th, 2014 10:25 am

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