Further vs Farther – When to Choose Which One and Why?

Because they sound similar, distinguishing further vs farther could be challenging. What adds to the confusion is the fact that these two words are used interchangeably.  Some guides say that farther means physical distance and farther means figurative distance, however it’s probably best to follow the advice in this article. Read on to know more in detail.

further-vs-farther

But not to worry! In this guide, we’ll be learning more about the difference between the two. We will also talk about how to use them correctly in a sentence. Before we do, check out more words and their usage on 501 Words

Further vs Farther

Aside from their differences in spelling, the correct usage of further vs. farther also sets these two apart. Before we learn how to use them properly, let’s learn about how they function in a sentence.

When to Use Further vs Farther

Further can be used as a verb, adverb, or adjective in a sentence. Meanwhile, farther can functions as an adjective and adverb in a sentence.

Further

When used as a verb, further means “advance or help in the progress of something.” Look at this example: “He talked to the mayor to further his political interests.” In this sentence above, “further” was used as a verb to the object “political interests.”

When used as an adverb, “further” means “in addition to.” The Ford ad slogan “Go further” is an example of its adverb function.

Informative bulb

When used as an adjective, “further” means “additional or more.” Here’s an example: “Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to send us an email.” The use of further here means that you are referring to additional questions that your readers might have.

As a general rule, when no notion of distance is involved, we use further in the sentence.

Farther

When used as an adjective, farther means “at or to a greater distance.” This is used for sentences that involve a physical distance. For example: “The truck is farther up the woods by now.”

When used as an adverb, farther would now mean that the action has resulted in greater distance. For example: “I didn’t realize that I ran up the hill farther than anyone else.

How To Avoid The Further Vs Farther Error

It is not uncommon to hear people ask, “what is the difference between farther and further?” This is a very common question because the two words can look very similar at first glance, and if you’ve never heard them before, they can be confusing. For this reason, it’s important to understand exactly what they are and how to use them correctly.

Farther and further are both commonly used in English. The word farther was first found in Middle English and has a long history. However, in the last few hundred years, the terms have become increasingly divergent. They are now used to refer to different concepts. Some speakers use further as a verb, whereas others are more inclined to use the adjective.

Further has more uses than any other adverb, and is the adverb of choice when it comes to an adjective that describes an addition to something. A farther is a great example of this because it means a greater physical or figurative distance.

There are many other uses for farther, including the verb, which ascribes to the ability to move a rat farther down the rat hole. In addition, it is a useful adverb for non-tangible concepts like time or money. As such, it is one of the most frequently misused words in the language.

Although they have different meanings and are ambiguous when it comes to which one to choose, farther and further have a surprising number of uses. Further and further are also used interchangeably in other languages, like Spanish and French. Still, there are some very specific contexts for which each word is most useful. If you’re a professional freelancer, for instance, you’ll want to consider how you pronounce the word and how it sounds in your writing. You may even consider using a custom style guide to make sure that you get your message across in the most effective manner.

Another thing the further and farther adverbs have in common is that they both have been used to describe the same thing. However, as with most languages, the correct usage may be a bit tricky to hear.

One way to avoid the more mundane uses of the two is to simply memorize the correct rules. Whether you are an experienced writer or a beginner, this can be a crucial skill to master. Fortunately, there are a few handy dictionaries and other references available to help you along. Among them are ProWritingAid and Chicago Manual of Style. While the latter is not as thorough as the former, it does give you a good idea of which word is most likely to be used in any given situation.

The farther and the further are not the only well-known words in the language, however. Even in the English language, there are plenty of words that have been used interchangeably, and some of them may be better than the other. Take a few minutes to learn the appropriate terms for the job at hand.

Further vs Farther Examples

Now that we have discussed how each should be used in a sentence let’s take on more examples.

I need to take more online courses to further/farther my skills.

Right: I need to take more online courses to further my skills.
Wrong: I need to take more online courses to farther my skills.

In the sentence above, further should be used because you are advancing your skills.

William has to travel further/farther up north if he wants to start a new life.

Right: William has to travel farther up north if he wants to start a new life.
Wrong: William has to travel further up north if he wants to start a new life.

Since we are talking about a physical distance, farther should be used in this sentence.

Let’s stop the motor unless we want to do any farther/further damage.

Right: Let’s stop the motor unless we want to do any further damage.
Wrong: Let’s stop the motor unless we want to do any farther damage.

We’re talking about avoiding any additional damage in the sentence, which is why we use further.

FAQ’s

Is it Further or Farther down the road?

As Farther is referenced as physical distance and Further is referenced as symbolic distance, the sentence would be constructed like this: “The well is farther down the road”.

Does money go further or farther?

When you’re using your money economically to buy things, you use the word further to construct. Example: Your credit card has reached the limit, do not spend any further money. When you use your money to represent physical distance, the word farther is used. Example: “Just throw this money receipt farther into the ocean”.

Conclusion

While they are used interchangeably nowadays, further vs. farther should be used differently. It’s essential to know the difference because these are used in professional and formal settings.

As a general rule, if there is no notion of distance in the sentence, you should use “further”. It also helps to replace further with “additional” or “more” to check if the sentence sounds right! You can post questions about simple distinction, clearer distinctions, aforementioned distinction, their history of usage, usage guidance or usage guide, metaphorical distance, literal distance or anything you would know in the box below.

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