Farther and further are both used in the English language to mean “more distant.” However, one is often used to describe physical distances, and the other figurative distances . This is where many people get confused between the two.
Through the explanation and examples below, we’ll try to further your understanding of the difference between these two words.
Definition of Farther
Farther is most often used to describe physical distances, though it is often used interchangeably with further for the same purpose.
However, farther can also be used to describe “a more advanced point” or “to a greater extent.”
See the example sentences below for more clarification.
Examples of Farther in a Sentence
- Milan is much farther from Rome than Naples.
- Dora lives a little farther down the road.
- The nearest rest stop was much farther than they had anticipated.
- The farther south they traveled, the hotter the temperature became.
- He was now much farther from home than he thought.
Notice that the use of farther in the sentences above primarily highlights a physical distance.
Definition of Further
When the distance being described is metaphorical, further is the favored term.
Further is also a more diverse word, as it can be used as an adverb, adjective, or verb.
See the examples below of how further can be used across multiple parts of speech.
Examples of Further in a Sentence
Further as an Adjective
- Further down the road is an elementary school.
- Further details were not disclosed.
Although farther tends to be the preferred term for describing physical distances, it is now commonplace to see further used for this purpose, as in the first example above.
Further as a Verb
Unlike farther, further can be used as a verb to mean “to move forward” or “to progress,” as in the examples below:
- He would do anything to further his own interests.
- To further her own career, she had sacrificed a number of friendships.
Further as an Adverb
Finally, further can also be used as an adverb to mean “in addition to.”
- Come further up toward the house and make a left.
- Let’s not discuss this matter any further.
How to Remember the Difference
To keep things simple, it’s perhaps best to stick with using farther exclusively for physical distances, and further for any other use.
If you’re really in a jam and can’t remember the difference, further is probably your best bet for any situation, since its uses are (far) more diverse than those of farther.
Tricky Word Pairs
Having trouble remembering the difference between some tricky word pairs?
Check out our other posts on affective vs. effective, fewer vs. less, and more so you never have to wonder again.
Which word pairs still confuse you? Let us know in the comments below!