This weekend in Denver is apparently supposed to be b-e-a-utiful. Weather reports are calling for temperatures in the 60s and 70s, and it’s going to be a great weekend to spend outside in the park. The only problem with this is that I’ll be in Philadelphia during this amazing weather spot. It will not be in the 60s and 70s in Philly. It will be in the 40s. That’s further than I’d like to be from those glorious spring temperatures.

Further vs Farther: What's the Difference_

Wait. Further? Or is it farther? What’s the difference between further vs farther?

Further vs Farther

The difference between further and farther is the difference between physical distance or metaphorical distance. Farther is used for physical; further for metaphorical.

In the Lord of the Rings series, the journey to destroy the ring requires the hobbits to travel farther from the Shire than they’ve ever been before. After the Fellowship is formed, there is a great deal of further discussion about the ring itself.

See the difference?

Here’s a quick and easy way to remember the two: the distance between two places can be far, and so is farther.

“How much further to Rohan?” asked Bill the horse. “Or is it farther to the Rohan?”
“You’re an idiot,” said Jesse the horse.

The Vagaries of Further vs Farther

But wait! What if the kind of distance is ambiguous? What if your protagonist is a secret agent in training, and she’s progressing faster through her training than anticipated? Is she going further or farther with her skills?

Guess what? It doesn’t matter. If there are elements of both physical and metaphorical distance, then you can use either form of further/farther.

Isn’t flexibility great?

How do you remember when to use further vs farther? Let us know in the comments!

PRACTICE

Write a scene set in the spring using “further” and “farther” as much as you can. Once you’ve gotten your fifteen minutes down, post it in the comments and leave notes for your fellow writers.

Liz Bureman
Liz Bureman
Liz Bureman has a more-than-healthy interest in proper grammatical structure, accurate spelling, and the underappreciated semicolon. When she's not diagramming sentences and reading blogs about how terribly written the Twilight series is, she edits for the Write Practice, causes trouble in Denver, and plays guitar very slowly and poorly. You can follow her on Twitter (@epbure), where she tweets more about music of the mid-90s than writing.