How Much Further?

The adverbs farther and further are often a problem for many writers. It helps me to think of farther as only applying to actual distance, but you would say, “We cannot travel any further tonight” if you are talking about physical distance. Farther is used to note the progression of physical distance. “I ran farther than I ever had before.”

Further seems to cover everything else:

  • Thoughts of leaving are furthest from my mind.
  • Let’s discuss this further.
  • The farther we go into the desert, the hotter it gets.
  • I am farther away from the store than you are.
  • I am further from realizing my goals than I was last year.
  • Stop before you go any further on that topic.

If you’re dealing with a sentence that seems a bit ambiguous, you really can use either word. People regularly use either word for physical distance and it’s become acceptable. But to be safe, default to further, and you’ll probably be fine. No need to fret further on the subject.

2 Responses to “How Much Further?”

  1. Kristina Stanley May 17, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    It funny how one little letter can change the meaning of a word. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Ekta Garg May 17, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    I’ve also heard the following as a way to remember the difference: because “FARther” is usually used to described to measure distances a person can actually measure, you have to think of how “FAR” you want to go. And then just remember that “further” is for distances you can’t physically measure.

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