Farther vs Further | Difference & Example Sentences

Further and farther are related words that can have similar meanings, depending on the context. Both can refer to distances, but further has some additional senses for which you can’t use farther.

  • Farther can be used as an adjective and an adverb. It’s used to mean ‘at a greater distance’, whether literally or figuratively.
  • Further may be used in a similar way to mean ‘at a greater distance’. But it can also be used as an adjective meaning ‘more’, as an adverb meaning ‘additionally’, and as a verb meaning ‘advance’ or ‘promote’.
Examples: “Farther” in a sentence Examples: “Further” in a sentence
Colorado is farther from New York than Iowa. Further research is needed into the subject.
We were sitting farther away from the stage than I had hoped. Geoff intended to further his career through hard work and diligence.
I’ll go this far, and no farther. Further, I intend to investigate the effects of caffeine intake on the participants’ concentration.
Note
Some style guides make a stricter distinction, saying that ‘further’ should not be used to mean ‘at a greater distance’, or that it should only refer to figurative distance. But there’s no clear consensus about this point, and some regional variation:

  • In UK English, the words are used more interchangeably to refer to distance.
  • In US English, it’s usually preferred to use ‘farther’ for distance-related meanings.

‘Farther’ and ‘further’ to refer to distance (adjective or adverb)

Farther and further can both be used as adjectives to mean ‘at a greater distance’.

Example: ‘Farther’ and ‘further’ as adjectives
  • When it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the earth is farther from the sun than during winter.
  • Paul’s house is further from the town than Eoghan’s.

Both farther and further can also be used as adverbs to describe an action that results in greater or additional distance.

Example: ‘Farther’ and ‘further’ as adverbs
  • Naomi runs farther and faster than all the other competitors.
  • The plane took off further down the runway than expected.

‘Further’ to mean ‘more’ (adjective or adverb)

Further, as an adjective, can be used with roughly the same meaning as ‘more’ or ‘additional’.

Example: ‘Further’ as an adjective
The politician refused to answer any further questions.

Further, as an adverb, can be used to describe an action in terms of greater degree.

Example: ‘Further’ as an adverb
You need to discuss the matter further with a specialist.

‘Further’ vs ‘furthermore’ (adverb)

Further and furthermore are synonyms that are used in the same way as ‘moreover’ or ‘additionally’. Both can be used as conjunctive adverbs (transition words) to link two independent clauses or sentences together.

They are placed at the start of a sentence and are followed by a comma. Farther is never used in this way, and you should never write ‘farthermore’.

Example: ‘Further’ as a transition word
The public transport initiative failed to account for maintenance costs. Further, it overestimated the number of daily passengers.

‘Further’ as a verb

Further can also be used as a verb, meaning ‘promote’, ‘advance’, or ‘help the development of’. Farther is never used as a verb.

Example: ‘Further’ as a verb
You can further the campaign by recruiting additional volunteers.

Worksheet: Farther vs further

Try the worksheet below if you want to test your understanding of the difference between ‘farther’ and ‘further’. Fill in either ‘further’ or ‘farther’ in each sentence.

  1. I am ______ away from home than I have ever been.
  2. He throws the ball ______ than his teammates.
  3. She made no ______ attempts to convince them.
  4. The cost of building materials has increased. ______, there are fewer workers available due to cutbacks.
  5. Jenny decided to go to college to ______ her education.
  1. I am farther/further away from home than I have ever been.
    • ‘Farther’ or ‘further’ can both be used as an adjective here to describe someone as more distant from a point (than they have previously been).
  1. He throws the ball farther/further than his teammates.
    • ‘Farther’ or ‘further’ can both used as an adverb here to describe an action that results in greater or additional distance.
  1. She made no further attempts to convince them.
    • ‘Further’ is used as an adjective here to mean ‘more’ or ‘additional’.
  1. The cost of building materials has increased. Further, there are fewer workers available due to cutbacks.
    • ‘Further’ is used as a conjunctive adverb here to link two independent sentences.
  1. Jenny decided to go to college to further her education.
    • ‘Further’ is used as a verb here. It means to advance or help the development of something.

 

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Eoghan Ryan

Eoghan has a lot of experience with theses and dissertations at bachelor's, MA, and PhD level. He has taught university English courses, helping students to improve their research and writing.

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