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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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
One of the most common errors made in written English is the confusion between “further” and “farther.” These two words might sound similar, but they have distinct meanings that should not be used interchangeably. While it may seem trivial, mastering the correct usage of these words significantly improves the clarity and precision of our communication.
To grasp the distinction between “further” and “farther,” it is important to understand their definitions. “Further” is an adverb that means extending to a greater degree or additional distance in a non-physical or metaphorical sense. It implies progress, development, or advancement in a non-quantifiable manner. For example, we can say that engaging in community service further enhances social cohesion.
On the other hand, “farther” is also an adverb, but it refers to literal, physical distance. It is used when describing a physical advancement or progress along a measurable scale. For instance, we can describe a hiker going farther up the mountain as they physically move beyond their previous position.
The confusion between these two words often arises because they both refer to some type of progress. However, mistakingly using one in place of the other can alter the intended meaning of a sentence and undermine the writer’s credibility. Examples of this error are widespread and can be found in various contexts such as news articles, formal documents, and casual conversations.
To avoid the “further vs. farther” error, it is beneficial to keep a few straightforward guidelines in mind. First and foremost, if referring to figurative progress or advancement that does not involve physical distance, “further” is the right choice. On the other hand, if measuring physical distance, “farther” should be employed.
Another helpful tip is to pay attention to any references to measurable scales or indicators of physical advancement to determine whether “further” or “farther” is appropriate. If we encounter words such as miles, meters, steps, or kilometers in the context, it is a strong indication that “farther” should be used. However, if the sentence seems to showcase a more abstract form of progress without any quantifiable measurements, “further” is the correct word choice.
Furthermore, it is essential to rely on sentence context and overall comprehension when deciding which word to use. While grammar rules provide a solid foundation, still, language is a dynamic and contextual tool. Becoming a proficient writer demands interpreting the surrounding sentences to make the best possible choice.
In conclusion, mastering the proper usage of “further” and “farther” elevates the quality of our written expression and helps us convey meaning accurately. By distinguishing between these words, we can ensure that our readers understand our intentions clearly, avoiding any ambiguity or confusion. Incorporating these guidelines into our writing enhances precision and helps us fine-tune the overall effectiveness of our communication. So, next time you embark on a writing journey, remember to double-check whether you need to take it further or farther.
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.
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”.
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”.
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.