Both “farther” and “further” derivate from the same word: “far.” So, depending on the context, you can use whichever you prefer.
But the confusion starts precisely in those moments when you can’t use them interchangeably. In this article, we’ll go through these subtle differences and provide you some examples to get you out of the confusion.
Farther (for physical distance only)
You can use the word “farther” as both an adjective and adverb. As an adjective, it describes an event when one object is more distant than the other. As an adverb, it refers to an action that results in a greater physical distance.
Our house is farther away than yours.
The boy at the farther end of the table is my brother.
The storm caused our boat to take us farther north of the shore.
They wandered farther than us.
We weren’t able to walk any farther than that.
I’ve realized relatively late that the train took me one station farther than I’d planned.
💡 Physical measurable distance only.
Further (metaphorical or figurative distances)
Although you can use “further” just like “farther” to describe physical distances, its usage is still a little different and a bit more complicated. “Further” can be used as an adverb and hence works as a synonym for “moreover,” “in addition,” “to a greater extent,” etc.
But it also works, just like “further,” as an adjective to describe physical distances. And lastly, you can use “further” as a verb to refer to an action that helps something moving forward (in a symbolic sense.)
They need to discuss this further.
Nothing could be further from reality.
She was too tired to go any further.
He wanted to live further from New York.
I’ve done several internships to further my career.
We wanted to further our own interests, instead of the ones of the other company.
💡 When confused, try using “furthermore” instead of “further.”
💡 To double-check, use “extra” or “more” as synonyms.
💡 If you’re unsure which one to use, you’re safer with “further” because “farther” has more restrictions.