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Grammar Chaos: Going the Distance—How to Use Further and Farther

Go further or go farther? Which one is correct? Short answer: both of them. Read on to find out more.


Farther or Further?

The real problem is that further and farther sound alike, are spelled almost alike, and are used almost alike. Both of them imply distance, but further is used metaphorically while farther is used physically. That is to say, further is used when dealing with abstract distances such as time or currency while farther is used when dealing with physical distances.


Here are some examples to help you work out the difference:


  Pluto is farther from Earth than Mars.

  For Cassie, college is a bit further into the future.


The distance between Earth, Mars, and Pluto is physically measurable. Therefore, farther is used. However, the future is a physically immeasurable distance. Not to mention “future” is vague in itself. Therefore, further is used. The good thing with these two is that when you replace one with the other, you aren’t necessarily grammatically incorrect. However, you risk the sentence’s clarity.


In the United States, both farther and further are used interchangeably, but further is a lot more common. Farther/farthest and furthermore/furthermost are accepted as superlatives. In the UK however, further is preferred for use in all contexts. Farther is also used but rarely.


If you’re confused, try to remember that with farther, you will go far. Literally.


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Got a grammar question? Trying to make sense of English chaos? Shoot us a message, and we might be able to help! Watch out for more Grammar Chaos!



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