Word Confusion: Farther versus Further

Posted May 17, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

You’ll go farther on your trip if you think further ahead and pack the basics.

And, I’ll confess that neither farther nor further crops up often enough for me to keep the difference in my head; I’m always referring back to this explanation! If you still can’t figure out which one is more appropriate, the word gurus say you’ll do fine if you choose further

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Farther Further
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Merriam-Webster

“Lost in Darkness” by Alex Proimos from Sydney, Australia, is under the CC BY 2.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

She seems so much farther back.

“Commonly Confused Words: farther / further” is courtesy of Towson University

Part of Grammar:
Adjective; Adverb Adjective 2; Adverb 1; Verb, transitive 3

Past tense or past participle: furthered
Gerund or Present participle: furthering

Farther, farthest – used when there is a sense of physical distance

More distant in space than another item of the same kind

  • More remote, remoter
  • More remote from a central point




At or to a greater distance or more advanced point

More remote, more distant, more removed

To a greater extent or degree

Over a greater expanse of space or time

  • For a longer way
Further, furthest – used when there is a more figurative or abstract sense




Going or extending beyond

More distant in space than something else of the same kind

  • More remote from a central point

Additional to what already exists or has already taken place, been done, or been accounted for

At, to, or by a greater distance (used to indicate the extent to which one thing or person is or becomes distant from another)

  • [With negative] Used to emphasize the difference between a supposed or suggested fact or state of mind and the truth

Over a greater expanse of space or time

  • For a longer way
  • Beyond the point already reached or the distance already covered

Beyond or in addition to what has already been done

  • [Sentence adverb] Used to introduce a new point relating to or reinforcing a previous statement
  • At or to a more advanced, successful, or desirable stage
  • Additional, more, extra, supplementary, supplemental


New, fresh

Verb, transitive:
Help the progress or development of something

  • Promote
It’s on the farther side of the field.

It’s on the farther side of the mountain.

He was sent to the farther stretches of the diocese.

It lies on the farther shore.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

He’d like to live even farther from the city.

The farther away you are from your home, the better you should behave.

His action pushes Haiti even farther away from democratic rule.

The stream fills the passage, and only a cave diver can explore farther.

People were trying to get their food dollars to go farther.

The further end of the hall.

We have to go through this pass and into the further one before dark.

Two men were standing at the further end of the clearing.

The museum is in the further reaches of the town.

Cook for a further ten minutes.

For further information, contact the station.

Further, it gave him an excellent excuse not to attend.

For some time I had wanted to move farther from Lynne.

The committee seems to have moved further away from its original aims.

As for her being a liar, nothing could be further from the truth.

Mothing could be further from his mind than marrying.

We had walked further than I realized.

Wages have been driven down even further.

Emily decided to drive further up the coast.

Before going any further we need to define our terms.

We are investigating ways to further increase customer satisfaction.

This theme will be developed further in Chapter 6.

I shall not trouble you any further.

Poison hemlock resembles wild carrot, but has a strong, pungent odor; further, young leaves of wild carrot are more finely divided.

At the end of three years they were no further on.

Verb, transitive:
It was an attempt to further his career.

He had depended on using them to further his own ideas.

Adjective: farthest, farthermost
Adverb: farthest
Adjective: furthest
Noun: furtherer
Phrasal Verb
phrasal phrasal
History of the Word:
14th century 1 Pre-12th century from the Old English furthor which was from the Old High German furthar

2 13th century

3 Pre-12th century

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

“Cinema Book Shop” by Nathan Williams from London, UK, is under the CC BY 2.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons.