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Further vs. Farther

When considering further and farther, it is easy to imagine the toiling writer slowing down, thinking carefully, and using the wrong word. Is it farther or further? Should I give up and reframe my sentence?


  • We need to walk about two miles further to get to the ice cream factory.
  • You should farther explore the wisdom of wearing a clown nose to an interview.
  • They’ll need to get gas in the car if they want to drive any further.


Farther is about physical distance. How far can you drive? How much farther can you drive? If you want to walk any farther to get to the ice cream factory, I’m going to hitch a ride. The metaphorical use of “farther down the road” to mean “in the future” retains that sense of distance. Further refers to the idea of going more fully into an issue: examining it further.


Further takes you deep into the weeds of exploration and discovery. If you discuss something further, you ponder its origins, trajectory, and deeper implications. Derived from Old English, it means “to a greater extent” rather than a physical distance traveled. It also functions as a verb: to further one’s goals. Oddly enough, further and farther were not historically separated in meaning.

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