View Full Version : Further vs. Farther

Greg Peterson
03-05-2010, 12:47 AM
What is the difference.

He threw the ball farther.

He threw the ball further.


Jeff Bratt
03-05-2010, 1:19 AM
From Merriam-Webster - http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/farther

usage Farther and further have been used more or less interchangeably throughout most of their history, but currently they are showing signs of diverging. As adverbs they continue to be used interchangeably whenever spatial, temporal, or metaphorical distance is involved. But where there is no notion of distance, further is used <our techniques can be further refined>. Further is also used as a sentence modifier <further, the workshop participants were scarcely optimistic L. B. Mayhew>, but farther is not. A polarizing process appears to be taking place in their adjective use. Farther is taking over the meaning of distance <the farther shore> and further the meaning of addition <needed no further invitation>

Todd Willhoit
03-05-2010, 7:00 PM
Disclaimer: I am not an English major, and I am not inclined to memorize the definition.

The "boiled-down" version I have always used is:

Farther --> physical distance (The root being far. As in, "You threw the ball farther.")

Further --> metaphorical distance (As in, further your career, etc.)


Dave Johnson29
03-05-2010, 7:37 PM
Further --> metaphorical distance (As in, further your career, etc.)


As in what you can buy the wife when you get that promotion on furthering your career.

glenn bradley
03-05-2010, 7:53 PM
As in; I'll bet this thread goes farther as we discuss this further. If you want some word fun ask 5 people the correct use of 'effect' versus 'affect' . . . . 5 different answers are almost guaranteed.

Dave Johnson29
03-05-2010, 7:59 PM
...and enquire and inquire.

Ben Franz
03-06-2010, 11:16 PM
Flammable and inflammable...

Jim Rimmer
03-07-2010, 9:37 PM
This brings up other thoughts about contradictions in the English language:

My house burned DOWN or maybe it burned UP.
Your turn lights ON and OFF but when they fail they are OUT.
You drive on a PARKway and park on a DRIVEway.
When you load goods on a ship it is CARgo but on a truck it is a SHIPment.

And the George Carlin question about PREBOARDING an airplane. Do you board before you board?

Jerry Bruette
03-07-2010, 10:18 PM
And of course Blackberries are Red when they're Green:)

Greg Pavlov
03-07-2010, 11:10 PM
... and then there are business names with second meanings. Three from my area:

Amigone Funeral Home (a local chain with 15 locations)
Muck Motors (Ford dealership)
Tinney Cadillac (former auto dealership)