Farther and further are two very similar words in the English language. When do you use each one?
The two words only have small differences in their spellings, pronunciations, and meanings. Despite these similarities, the words are used in different contexts. Knowing when to use farther and when to use further properly is a skill that will impress even native English speakers.
Let's look at some examples to help you learn this important distinction.
Farther means at or to a greater distance. It deals with physical distance. A physical distance is a distance that can be measured using a tool like a measuring tape or a ruler, though it may take quite a few of them for large distances!
Further means at or to a greater distance (the same meaning as farther).
So what's the difference? Further deals with non-physical distance, instead of physical distance.
Non-physical distance cannot be measured using a tool like a ruler. It is often helpful to think of non-physical distance as an imaginary path. For example, movement (progression) in time, a course of study, a career, or a conversation.
As a verb, further means to move something along (to advance it).
Knowing the difference between farther and further is something many people struggle with. However, if you can just remember one tip, you'll never mix them up again. Just know that farther only deals with physical distance, while further deals with non-physical distance.
But what happens when you don't know if the distance is physical or not? Sometimes, the distance can be both.
For example, imagine you say, "I can't get any further in this book!"
Your friend replies, "Don't you mean you can't get any farther?"
You explain that you mean further, because you are discussing the non-physical distance of the storyline.
Your friend insists that farther is correct, because your progress in the book is measured by the physical distance of the number of pages read.
Who is correct? The good news is, you both are! When you are discussing something that could be either physical or metaphorical, use whichever word you want.
Jarrod runs a little farther each day as he tries to further his career as a runner. When he was a child, Jarrod dreamed of being able to run farther than anyone else.
When he first started training, he couldn't have been further from his goal. He couldn't run farther than a mile without stopping. Through extensive training, though, he was able to further his athletic abilities, so now he can run farther than ever before.With each step Jarrod takes, he gets further away from his old self and farther away from where he started running.
Answer the following 10 questions and then check your answers. Each question is worth 10 points.
1. C | 2. D | 3. A | 4. C | 5. D | 1. D | 2. D | 1. A | 2. D | 3. D