Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Further and Farther

dictionary_adjectFurther vs Farther
‘Further and ‘farther’ are two similar sounding words that have similar connotations of usage too. The difference in a first glance is only with respect to the second letter of the two words, and they are used almost interchangeably in the daily parlance. The fact is that there is a world’s difference between the two words. This is a clear instance underscoring the difference a single letter can make when used in two words.

Farther is primarily an adverb. Further too is an adverb; but it is also used as an adjective. Both mean the same when used to refer to the concept of distance. However, there are some shades of difference in the meaning of these words and it is this that makes the speaker of English confused about the words.

The words ‘farther’ and ‘further’ are two words in every day usage and it is very easy to get confused. These two words are simple too. However, an erroneous usage of the two might result in a serious derailment of the whole script affecting the very quality of the writing. Hence, it is imperative that one should be proficient enough in using these terms.

The term ‘farther’ denotes something that is distant in space. It notates physical advancement. However, ‘further’ as an adverb means an advancement in time. It also means something additional to the present. When you use ‘further’ as a verb, it refers to the act of advancing something. ‘Further’ is more abstract and cannot be considered as describing a physical or tangible entity.

As mentioned earlier, ‘farther’ refers to an actual physical distance. When you use farther, you can actually measure the extent of its distance. It can be felt and observed. It can be seen and felt.

‘Further’ does not give any definite concept of distance that can be seen and learned. Because of its very abstract nature, the term can be used figuratively too. This can be explained with the example of a sentence. ‘She moved further in her career path with countless victories to her credit.’ In this sentence, the distance that the term ‘further’ is referring to cannot actually be measured in terms of centimeters or kilometers as it has been used metaphorically.

Now consider this sentence, ‘He furthered his education.’ The word is used as a verb, denoting an action. Further here means to add up, to increase or to enhance. As a verb, it is easy to discern.


1.Both ‘farther’ and ‘further’ are adverbs. But ‘further’ is also used as a verb.
2.’Farther’ denotes a physical entity. Thus when we describe something using the word, we can really observe, feel and measure for ourselves.
3.’Further’ is an abstract concept. It refers to distance when used as the adverb. However sometimes, the word is used figuratively or metaphorically. In such cases, the distance that the word is referring to cannot be really observed and measured. Hence the word encapsulates an element of abstractness in it.
4.The word ‘further’ as a verb means additional. It means adding up to something.

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  1. Thanks for the clarification. When talking about 2 people drifting apart, have they drifted “farther” or “further” apart? We are talking about distance, but more in the abstract.


    • That depends. Are the two people in separate boats? Then they are drifting farther apart. If it’s a relationship, then they are drifting further apart.

  2. Doug,

    A very succinct response! I would like to use it.


    VP Educaton Toastmasters

  3. Bush did 911

  4. An excellently written explaination. Well expressed and the use of the examples was great as well.
    I’m keeoing this site for future reference.

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