Farther vs. Further: What's the Difference?

Grammar Rules updated on  June 5, 2023 3 min read

The difference between Farther and Further is that Farther denotes distance and further shows a greater amount or extent. But in everyday use, it’s not so cut-and-dried.

The history of farther and further is murky. Like many other words in English, such as affective and effective, they have evolved, and so have their distinctions and shared definitions. The difference between them isn’t just a matter of correct spelling. This article reflects their most common usage today.

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Farther definition with examples

Farther can be an adverb or adjective (an adverb describes a verb, while an adjective describes a noun). In times past, it has been used as a verb as well, but this usage is extremely rare now.

farther (adv.): to a greater physical distance, degree, or extent; toward greater progress

To pull over, Jake had to drive a bit farther down the road.

She wanted to explain, but she got no farther than the words “Mom, please—”

farther (adj.): a greater measurable distance away

He decided to set up his tent on the farther side of the campground.

Further definition with examples

Further can be an adverb, adjective, or verb. It carries all the same meanings as farther but is also synonymous with “more,” “in addition,” “furthermore,” “moreover,” or “besides.”

further (adv.): to a greater distance, degree, or extent; toward greater progress; in addition

After arriving in Orlando, Pilar had to drive 20 minutes further to get to the world’s largest White Castle.

Sven’s throat was swollen. Further, he had a nasty cough and a fever.

further (adj.): a greater distance away; more, additional

To cure the disease, the facility required further research.

further (v.): to advance or make progress in something

Kya aimed to further her career and get to a more advanced point in life by bringing in new clients.

When to use farther and further

It’s apparent in the further vs. farther examples and definitions above that there’s some overlap between their meanings. The two words can both show a greater distance, degree, or extent.

So when should you use farther or further? Since many people want to make a clearer distinction between them, the safest way to use farther is to refer only to physical distance. But we sometimes use it to refer to other types of figurative distance too, such as in time or between the beginning and end of a task, so if you decide to use it that way, it might not be considered an error.

If you want to be a stickler: in academic writing and other formal settings, use farther for physical distance, but use further in all other cases.

If you don’t want to be a stickler: in creative writing and other informal settings, use either farther or further for physical or metaphorical distance or degree, but use further when you mean “more” or “in addition” or when you’re using it as a verb.

If you’re an aspiring stickler (or even if you’re not), don’t be afraid to rely on trusty tools. QuillBot adds AI brainpower to your own, and it can help you learn the difference between these and other commonly confused terms. Plus, in the meantime, it can ensure you don’t suffer embarrassment by using the wrong word.

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How do you use farther and further in a sentence?

The cautious approach is to use farther when your sentence is about a distance in physical space or time, but use further when it refers to addition, degree, or extent.

Is it farther or further from the truth?

Most native English speakers would say the correct phrase is further from the truth, which is the more common phrase.

What is the difference between further and farther in the future?

Farther in the future may be considered correct because it’s used often. But if you say further in the future, your grammar is less likely to be questioned.


Hannah Skaggs

Along with Paige Pfeifer

Hannah, a writer and editor since 2017, specializes in clear and concise academic and business writing. She has mentored countless scholars and companies in writing authoritative and engaging content.

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