Two words, very similar spelling, a letter here and there, and we are left with a problem in our hands! How unfair is that? We are the ones who need to learn the difference between these two words.
Keeping the rancor aside, let’s get down to the job.
Farther and further are two words that can be used interchangeably in some cases, but in most areas, these are distinct words.
“Farther” is used for physical distances, and “further” for metaphorical, or figurative, distance. How to learn this? Just remember the “far” in farther, it relates to physical distance.
Want a quick example of the above tip? Two friends, Jack and Jill were travelling to the Himalayas. Jack persistently kept asking Jill, “how much farther?”. Jill, frustrated with the same question every two hours, replied “if you complain further, I will through you off the next cliff we encounter”.
Now analyze this: should be say “before we go any further,” or “before we go any farther” when interrupted in the middle of a sentence? Well, hard to pick sides in this case. Analyze this: ‘Keep your patience son, the further we travel, the more we learn’. Now what am I referring to in this case? Physical distance while learning or metaphorical learning? Tough to answer, right? For all these cases, just remember that further can replace farther and be used its place. The usage of further in this manner, where the meaning is not clear, is not regarded incorrect. What is definitely incorrect is when we use further for physical distances.
Tool tip to remember the difference:
Just Remember: The “far” in farther, it relates to physical distances, for all other distances use, further.
Examples of incorrect uses of Farther and Further:
1. The biggest investment in the country is from further afield.
2. They can farther cut down energy costs.
Examples of correct uses of Farther and Further:
1. A lot of replacements would be waiting farther down the line.
2. He is too disabled to be trusted further.
A Quick Recap:
Farther is usually a reference to space dimension or a greater distance, but it should be used only in connection with a physical or a linear distance: “That town is farther away than I thought.”
Further is used in referring to a degree, a quantity, or time in quality or degree: “The students had to do further research in their project.”