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Farther vs. Further

Have you wondered whether there is a right way and a wrong way to use the words farther and further? The different uses of the two words can be subtle. Let’s have a closer look.

Farther: Refers to physical distance only.

Examples:
We had to walk farther than the map indicated.

Reno is farther from San Francisco than from Sacramento.

Further:
1. Moreover; in addition; to a greater extent.

Examples:
We need to discuss this further.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

2. May be used for physical distance although farther is preferred.

Example:
We had to drive further.

3. To help forward, advance, or promote a work, undertaking, cause, etc.

Example:
Elisa had more desire to further her own interests than to further the mission of the organization.

Pop Quiz

Choose the correct word in each sentence. Scroll down to view answers.

1. The mountain peak was farther/further away than she expected.

2. Farther/Further negotiations should help the two sides reach an agreement.

3. I agree with the addition to the project as long as there are no farther/further delays.

4. I refuse to walk one step farther/further.

5. The purpose of the United Nations is to farther/further the cause of world peace.

Pop Quiz Answers

1. The mountain peak was farther away than she expected. -OR- The mountain peak was further away than she expected. (Either farther or further is correct but farther is preferred.)

2. Further negotiations should help the two sides reach an agreement.

3. I agree with the addition to the project as long as there are no further delays.

4. I refuse to walk one step farther. -OR- I refuse to walk one step further. (Either farther or further is correct but farther is preferred.)

5. The purpose of the United Nations is to further the cause of world peace.

 

 

Posted on Friday, July 18, 2008, at 4:57 pm


10 Comments

10 Responses to “Farther vs. Further

  1. ravi bedi says:

    This was great.

  2. michael white says:

    which is more correct grammar and why?
    i am further satisfied
    or
    i am satisfied further

    would appreciate your reply!

    • Jane says:

      I would recommend “I am further satisfied.” The adverb further, meaning to a greater degree modifies the adjective annoyed and seems to sound better in this case with the adverb just before the adjective. However, either would be grammatically correct.

  3. briana smith says:

    u can always just use both of them depends on what tense ur using it n at the moment and if ur around friends it dosnt matter

    • Jane says:

      Our blog “Farther vs. Further,” notes that it does matter. “Only further should be used to mean moreover (Further, you hurt my feelings.), more extended (His further comments illuminated the meaning of the story.), or additional (Further bulletins came in).” Since this is a grammar blog, we also think that proper capitalization, spelling, and punctuation matter.

  4. Ed C. says:

    Is it correct to say “farther back in history?”

  5. JohnD says:

    I would go a little further than the author and point out that the distinction between “further” and “farther” is a modern one and found mainly in America. In other English-speaking countries, it is far more typical to use further for everything and to ignore the word “farther”.

  6. Ski Anderson says:

    Thank you for the clarification. I appreciate it. I’ve used your site several times for conundrums I could not resolve on my own.

    Thank you,

    Ski Anderson

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