The Correct Word – Farther or Further

A common error is in the use of farther and further. We often see one word written for the other. This confusion between the two words is understandable since – one, they are both related to distance; and two, their spellings are similar. Care should be taken when using these words since there is a difference between the two.

First, the similarity – they are both the comparative form of “far”.

The difference?

Farther is the comparative form of “far” when referring to distance. For example:

His house is farther than John’s.

Which is farther – the school or the museum?

In both these examples, farther is referring to distance. That is, which place is at a greater distance.

Further is the comparative form of “far” when referring to advancement to a greater degree. For example:

He decided to go ahead with the plan without any further delay.

The boss wanted no further discussion on the topic.

Here further refers to a greater degree, or quantity.

So, the difference is this – whereas farther is used for physical distance, further is used for non-physical distance.

Do you know of any other difference (or similarity) between the two words?

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2 Responses

  1. I like to think of farther as distance (it has the word far in it) and further as beyond.

    Like

  2. Thanks, Roxanne. That’s a nice of remembering which is which.

    Like

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