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Further vs. Farther: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 23, 2023
"Further" often implies a figurative or greater extent, while "farther" typically refers to a measurable physical distance.

Key Differences

"Further" and "farther" are commonly used interchangeably, but they do possess distinct nuances. The term "farther" is primarily employed to describe physical distance. When you ask how much "farther" it is to a destination, you're inquiring about a tangible span, such as miles or kilometers.
On the other hand, "further" is versatile. While it can also depict physical distance, it more commonly conveys a figurative sense. If a project needs "further" clarification, it suggests a deeper level of understanding or more detailed information. In this context, "further" captures a more abstract concept than a direct measurable distance.
Despite these distinctions, the line between "further" and "farther" can be blurry, especially in casual speech. In American English, it's not uncommon for "further" to be used in scenarios where "farther" might be the traditional choice, indicating a physical distance.
It's also notable that in some situations, only "further" fits. For example, when speaking of advancing a cause or a plan, "further" is the appropriate choice. One would discuss "furthering" their education, not "farthering" it.
In conclusion, while "farther" leans towards concrete distances and "further" often veers towards the abstract, overlaps do occur. Recognizing the subtle differences can enhance precision in communication.

Comparison Chart

Primary Meaning

Figurative or greater extent
Physical, measurable distance

Usage in Distance

Can be used for distance but often is figurative
Almost exclusively for physical distance


Further studies, further details
Ten miles farther, farther down the road

Idiomatic Expressions

"Until further notice"
Not commonly used in idioms

Advancement Meaning

Can be used to describe the advancement of something (e.g., a cause)
Not used in the context of advancement

Further and Farther Definitions


To a greater extent or degree.
She needs to investigate the matter further.


More distant in space than something else.
The farther end of the corridor was dark.


At or to a more distant place.
The forest extends further to the east.


Over a greater expanse of space or time.
The journey seemed to take farther than she expected.


In addition to; moreover.
He gave further reasons for his absence.


To a more advanced point.
We can discuss this farther in the next meeting.


To help the progress or development of something.
She decided to further her education abroad.


At or to a greater distance.
The town is farther north than I remembered.


Beyond the point already reached or specified.
There's no need for further discussion.


Beyond the reach or extent of.
The solution was farther than his understanding.


More distant in degree, time, or space
A result that was further from our expectations than last time.
The further lamppost.


To or at a more distant or remote point
Ran farther than the others.


Is one word more British and the other more American?

Both are used in both dialects, but the distinction is often observed more in British English.

Can "further" mean "additional"?

Yes, "further" can mean "additional," as in "further details."

Does "further" have a comparative form like "farther"?

Both can be comparatives, but "further" also has a broader figurative sense.

Is it wrong to use "further" when referring to distance?

No, "further" can be used for distance, especially in American English, though "farther" is more specific.

Does "farther" only relate to geography?

Mostly, "farther" describes physical distances, which can be geographical or tangible spans.

Can "farther" be used to describe time?

Rarely. "Further" is more common for abstract concepts, including time.

Can I use "farther" in academic writing?

Yes, especially when referring to measurable distances.

Does "further" always refer to location?

No, "further" can describe location, extent, or degree.

Does "further" always mean "more advanced"?

Not always, but it can imply a deeper or more extended level or degree.

Can "farther" imply "beyond"?

Yes, as in "farther than I thought."

If I'm unsure, which word should I use?

"Further" is more versatile and often acceptable in various contexts.

Is it "further from the truth" or "farther from the truth"?

"Further from the truth" is the standard phrase.

Can "farther" be used in a figurative sense?

Typically, "farther" refers to physical distance, whereas "further" is more often figurative.

Is it "further away" or "farther away"?

Both can be correct, but "farther away" is more specific to distance.

Is "further" more formal than "farther"?

Both words have formal usages, but the context determines appropriateness.

Are there any idioms with "farther"?

While there are idioms with "further," idiomatic usage of "farther" is less common.

Why are "further" and "farther" so often confused?

Their meanings overlap, and they're used interchangeably in many contexts.

Which should I use: "further studies" or "farther studies"?

"Further studies" is the correct choice.

What's the opposite of "further"?

Context-dependent, but often "closer" or "less."

Can "further" imply progression?

Yes, as in "furthering one's career."
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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