The Difference between Farther and Further
I’ve been asked about the difference between farther and further quite often, so I thought I should explain it here.
As you probably know, the words farter and further are comparative forms of the adjective far. Sometimes, you can not be sure whether to use one or the other form because they are interchangeable in most cases.
The point is, in spoken English (especially British English), further is more commonly used than farther but still, there is a pattern we can follow. It depends on whether we are talking about physical or symbolic distance.
We can use farther when it is about physical distance.
- He climbed farther up the hill.
- Tom’s house is way farther than I expected.
- Jupiter is farther from the Sun than Earth.
- Simon ran farther and faster than the others.
- The Smiths lived a few kilometres farther down the road.
We can use further when it is about symbolic distance.
- A group of scientists is preparing to conduct further research.
- She didn’t want to discuss it any further so she got out of the office.
- Please let me know if you hear any further news about it.
- Paul has climbed further up the corporate ladders.
- Before you jump to a conclusion, allow me to explain this matter a bit further.
As I already mentioned, the difference between the two forms is disappearing, so you won’t make a mistake if you say ‘Tom’s house is way further than I expected.’
The same goes for the superlative forms furthest and farthest – there is no significant difference between them, they are interchangeable. However, you may find that furthest is more common.
- What is the farthest/furthest planet from the sun?
- Tom ran the farthest/furthest.
- Mary’s house is the farthest/farthest from the city centre.
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