Further vs Farther. Commonly Confused English Words with 12 Examples

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1946

Further vs father - MyEnglishTeacher.eu

โ€œFarther relates to definition, further is a definition of degree.โ€ Finding Forrester

Is it always so simple to work out when to use these two words? Maybe, maybe not! Some people struggle to remember when either word should or shouldnโ€™tโ€™ be used and that doesnโ€™t surprise me, since theyโ€™re so similar!

The easiest way to remember when to use one or the other, is to think of the word far in โ€˜fartherโ€™ โ€“ this is related to physical distance. So if you are talking about how far a place is in relation to the subject, you use โ€˜fartherโ€™.

The other word, โ€˜furtherโ€™ is used when talking about metaphorical or figurative distance.

 

As adverbs, bothย fartherย andย furtherย can imply distance in space or time:

  • The road is blocked, we can’t go anyย further/farther.
  • We watched their train moving graduallyย further/fartherย away.
  • Liverpool isย further/fartherย away from London than Manchester.
  • Nothing could beย further/fartherย from the truth.

 

When the degree or extent of something is implied, the use ofย furtherย is preferred:

  • They didn’t get anyย furtherย with making a decision.
  • The police decided to investigateย further.

 

As an adjective,ย further, can also be used mainly with abstract nouns, to mean additional, extra, more:

  • Are there anyย furtherย questions?
  • Furtherย supplies will be available soon.
  • Please go to the manager if you have anyย furtherย enquiries.
  • The committee decided to take noย furtherย action.
  • Iโ€™m thinking about educating further.

 

The adjectiveย fartherย is only used for referring to distance:

  • Theย fartherย shore of the lake could hardly be seen in the mist.
  • My familyโ€™s home is at theย fartherย end of the village.
  • The fartherย you go, the more I will miss you.
  • The mountain peak was fartherย away than sheโ€™d expected.

 

The usage of these two words can sometimes be a little confusing, but donโ€™t worry about it too much because reliable sources like The Oxford English Dictionary would say that they can be used interchangeably, especially in ambiguous cases like this one:

โ€œIโ€™m further along in the test right now than you areโ€

You could use farther if youโ€™re thinking of it as physical distance through the pages of the test or you could use further if youโ€™re relating it to figurative distance through the assessment process.

So the bottom line is, they are generally used interchangeably, but if you need to differentiate between the two โ€“ think of actual distance (far) for โ€˜fartherโ€™ and the other one, โ€˜furtherโ€™, is for figurative or metaphorical distance.

An easy way to remember the difference!

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