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As many of you can see, I've been a pretty terrible blogger lately! What can I say...Life.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Farther vs. Further vs. Furthermore

Here’s the general rule of thumb…

Use the word “farther” when referring to physical distance and use the word “further” when referring to figurative distance.

Examples of the correct way to use “Farther”:

“Jane has to drive farther than John to get to the mall.”
Here we are talking about the physical distance Jane has to drive to get to the mall.
“I don’t want to run any farther”
Again, we are talking about the physical distance one is running.

Examples of the correct way to use “Further”:

“I’m not going to discuss this topic any further.”
The length of a discussion would be considered a figurative distance.
“Jane was worried that the further her mind travelled, the more scared she would get.”
Although “travel” is often considered a physical distance, a mind travels figurative distances so we would use “further” instead of “farther.”

Now, here’s the tricky part. What about those pesky sentences that don’t clearly state whether they are referring to a physical or figurative distance?

For example:

“How much further/farther did you get in your book?”
Is this sentence referring to the physical distance a person made in a book, as in the number of pages they read? Or, is it referring to the figurative distance, as in how far they are into the story?

In cases like these, it is advised that you use your best judgment. If you intend for it to mean the physical distance then use “farther,” but if you intend for it to mean the figurative distance, use “further.”

Lastly, what about “furthermore?”

Well, you can’t exactly say…

“Further, I wish to discuss the finer details in this article.” (THAT’S INCORRECT!)
I know that this may sound right, but “further” does not mean “in addition” or “moreover.” However, “furthermore” does. So, when looking to replace “in addition” or “moreover” use “furthermore.”

As in, “Furthermore, I suggest you stop reading this and start using ‘farther,’ ‘further,’ and ‘furthermore’ correctly.”


  1. I love learning things! Thank you for the lesson. I found and am following you from Tasty Tuesday. :)

  2. VedetteTX...Cool. I'm glad you enjoy learning. I do too! Thanks for finding me and following. Do you have a blog? I'll come check it out.

  3. I think I knew that instinctively :P But I never could have spelled it out!

  4. Well, this is certainly enlightening. Furthermore, I think you're doing us a great service.

  5. I just finished English Grammar last week with our final exam. But apparently, the grammar lessons never end ;) It's confusions like this that we never covered in ANY of my writing classes this past Fall quarter when talking about grammar. Thanks Aubrie!

  6. hahaha... i'm so glad i'm done with english... but hey it's always good to keep up with those skills ;)

  7. Rose...Yeah, these are usually things that we do unconsciously, that's why they can be so dangerous when we don't have them right in the first place. They become habits and if the habit is a bad one then it is hard to break. I'm very happy you have it down because then you don't have to worry! :)

    Matt...Thanks. I enjoy it too so it's a plus for everyone!

    Sarah...I just took a Grammar class too! It was only an 8 week course and it was over with about 8 weeks ago and we never got to stuff like this either. I just don't think they have the time, but this is what I really needed. I didn't need to be reminded what a noun, verb, and adjective were, or what a phrase and clause were. I needed specific examples (and a tutorial on how to use colons and semi-colons. I'll make sure to research that and get it up here too). I hope it helps. We can always learn more, I say.

    Grace...I can't wait to be done with it too. Just a few more literature classes and I will have my bachelors. But yes, it is good to keep it up.

  8. "And furthermore, Susan, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to learn that all four of them habitually smoke marijuana cigarettes. Refers....."

  9. Yes, that would be a correct way to use "furthermore." :)

  10. Once again I'm in awe. :) It's always neat to read these because like someone else said, I knew that instinctively but seeing it written out just kinda gave me a warm fuzzy. God we are SUCH writers!

    <3 Donna

  11. Indeed, but I wouldn't want to be anything else. Being a writer has meant so much to me in the last few years. I really don't see it ever leaving me.

  12. More lessons learned. This was good because I believe I always used furthermore correctly, but can't recall the last time I use the word farther? Oops! Cheers Aubrie. X

  13. Very nice. That consciousness is something I'm really working towards, spelling things out, and making it wasy to understand.

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