Fun With Further and Farther

Fun With Further and Farther

If you confuse these words, it isn’t as big a usage boo-boo as some.  In fact, there is enough disagreement about these words that you can probably claim to be correct- or at least acceptable- in any case.

But, for the sticklers, here are some generally accepted rules:

Further is a lot busier than farther; it can serve several functions:

As a verb:

Lilac wants to further her career by taking a course in sword-swallowing.

As a synonym for moreover or additionally:

She loves the circus, and, further, she intends to join.

As a synonym for more:

After further consideration, she enrolls in the fire-eating course instead.

Note:  Further is also used in this phrase: ‘without further ado’.  Please do not ever say this again.  It is trite.  You do not want to be trite  Think of something original.

To describe distance of ideas:

Job satisfaction seems to be the furthest thing on her mind.

And, less accepted, to describe measurable distance:

She is surprised that circus school is further away than she thought.

Farther is easier to manage as it has only one job: to describe distance, whether measurable:

She has farther to travel than the other circus students.

Or of ideas:

Her dreams have taken her farther from more traditional career choices.

For further information on language usage, check with us.  Help is no farther away than a phone call – 202-298-7700.