Further vs. farther – what’s the difference? When to use which?
Further or farther? This question is a head-scratcher for learners and native speakers of English alike. Keep reading to find out which one to choose and how to remember the difference.
When to use further vs. farther?
Both words mean at a greater distance, but there is a conceptual difference between further and farther. Farther refers to a physical or measurable distance, while further can mean more or to a greater extent / degree depending on context, because the word indicates metaphorical or abstract distance.
Further and farther are pronounced differently and can function as different parts of speech. They can be used as adjectives or adverbs, while further can also serve as a verb.
Further vs. farther. Top tip to remember the difference
The best way to recall which one you need is to pay attention to the spelling.
Farther has the word far in it, so what comes immediately to mind when we notice that is physical distance. It doesn’t quite work with the other word, since what we end up with is “fur”, and that’s how we know further is the metaphorical one.
Another good way to learn the difference is looking at the words in context. See below for a handful of helpful examples.
Further vs. farther. How it works in practice – recent examples from press
There are three main routes you can take from the lodge, each leading you farther from the nearest road and thus making them essentially unreachable by day hikers.
New York Times, Apr 27, 2022
In the years since, with Drabinsky at the helm, it has repeatedly changed book writers and expanded other parts of its creative team; it also moved further and further from Foster’s music and biography.
New York Times, Jul 11, 2022
The Metropolitan Police said in an email on Wednesday that they had been conditionally released pending further inquiries.
New York Times, Jul 6, 2022