“Farther” vs. “Further”—How to remember the difference?

The new store is farther down the lane.


The new store is further down the lane.

Can you tell which of the above sentences is correct?

What if I told you that both of them are perfectly fine!

So, does that mean farther and further mean the same? Well, not always!

Farther and further are commonly used English words, but it is also common to get confused while using them.

Today, we will put a period on this confusion once and for all by learning when we can use farther and further interchangeably, and when we should not.

Similarity between farther and further

Farther and further as adjectives mean greater distance. Both the words are comparatives of ‘far’.

The birds flew to farther fields in search of food.

The birds flew to further fields in search of food.

Farther and further are also used as adverbs to indicate that an action was continued for a greater distance or extended.

The birds flew farther in search of food.

The birds flew further in search of food.

So, while talking about physical distances, i.e., when the distances can be measured physically, it doesn’t really matter which word you use. Both farther and further are equally appropriate. The same logic applies to their superlatives, farthest and furthest.

Difference between farther and further

While farther strictly expresses greater distances in time or space, further can be used differently.

As an adjective, further is also used to describe something as additional or greater in degree.

The police will conduct further investigations on the case.

If you require any further information, feel free to contact me.

Unlike farther, further can also be used as a verb to express the action of helping something to become successful or move forward in a symbolic sense.

This new policy will further their political interests.

If Kelly wants to further her education, she will need financial aid.

Time for some pro-tips

  • If you can measure the distance physically, use either of the two. For everything else, further is the right way to go!
  • Check if you can replace further in a sentence with “additional” or “more.” If yes, you are using it correctly.

So, now you know that error-free writing is not a far-fetched dream. Use these tips, practice well and further your writing skills!

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