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Further vs. Farther (Definition, Usage + Examples)

When to use further vs. farther?



Further vs. farther

Further and farther are both the comparative forms of the adjective or adverb “far“, and can mean “at or to a greater distance in space or time”, and to “help something to develop or be successful”.


Because both words can function in sentences as verbs, adverbs and adjectives, combined with their similar in meaning, they naturally get confused. Some distinctions between them to note are in the rest of this article.



When to use further vs. farther

  • Farther is the preference to refer to distances (physical or literal); e.g., “It’s farther away than I’d thought.”


  • As an adverb and adjective, further means “additionally”, “also” or “more”. As in, “are there any further questions?” Its meaning here is not shared with its counterpart “farther”.


Note: Some sources suggest to reserve the use of “farther” to physical distances only, and not for figurative distances; so, in the sentence “nothing could be farther from the truth“, should use ‘further‘ in its place since the distance being mentioned is figurative.



Furthest vs. farthest

As further and farther are the comparative forms, furthest and farthest are their corresponding superlative forms. The distinction in when to use either carries over to its superlative case.


  • Generally, farthest is more common to refer to physical distances; e.g., “among all his cousins he lives farthest from the lake”.


  • Use furthest when the “distance” is figurative or not physical; “this is the furthest we’ve gotten in developing the research”.



“Farther” / “further”, used in sentences

Examples: “farther”, used in sentences
I can’t go any farther.

As a family we grew farther and farther apart.

We watched their ship moving gradually farther away.

How much farther is it?

They hadn’t got any farther with the work
Examples: “further”, used in sentences
After further discussion a decision was reached.

Do you have any further questions?

This performance offers yet further proof that she is one of the great musicians of this generation.

We cannot afford any further delay.



“Farther” / “further” used in the media

Without that last-minute salvation, I would have had to return next summer to get to St. Kilda, which is another (nearly) hundred miles further west.

— Neel Mukherjee, The New York Times 20 May 2018

Also, she was tall and thin, too, further adding to the ways she met the physical beauty conventions.

—From The Daily Beast

Of course, our original snowfall prediction made Tuesday, was farther off in many areas.

—From Washington Post

Fairfax County is offering free transportation to vaccination sites for some residents who live farther away.

—From Washington Post



“Further” / “farther” synonyms

As in, at a greater distance:


  • afar
  • at a greater distance
  • away
  • beyond
  • ahead
  • yonder
  • a good way


Synonyms of “further”, meaning additionally:


  • additionally
  • moreover
  • in addition
  • also
  • to a greater extent
  • supplementary


As a verb, meaning to promote/develop:


  • promote
  • advance
  • forward
  • develop
  • stimulate
  • aide
  • expedite
  • encourage



Origin of “further”/”farther”

Old English furðor, forðor “to a more advanced position, forward, onward, beyond, more distant; farther away; later, afterward; to a greater degree or extent, in addition; moreover”.



Read about other misused words

Commonly misused wordsUK English vs. US English
former vs. latterburned or burnt?
bear with vs. bare withcolor or colour?
breathe or breathfavorite vs. favourite
compliment vs. complementsmelled or smelt?
effect vs. affectgray or grey?
elude or alludefavor vs. favour
it’s or itsanalyze or analyse?



Sources

  1. Elements of Style, Strunk & White


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