Further and farther are often used interchangeably, although they actually have slightly different meanings. Both words refer to distance, but the distinction is in the type of distance. Further refers to mental distance, while farther refers to physical distance. Take a look at the differences as illustrated in the sentences below:

Example 1 (further-correct usage): The student read further in the textbook. (Note that the distance traveled is only mental.)

Example 2 (farther-correct usage): I have to drive farther to work than to school. (In this sentence, we are referring to an actual distance that is measurable in miles, kilometers, etc., so the word farther is used.)

Posted in Word Choice.

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  1. Amy says:

    Thank you very much! This website helps a lot.

  2. Aladdin says:

    I think itz actually pretty common to mix these two , and my secondary school english teacher also doesn’t seem to care about it

  3. Astor says:

    Sorry, if my question is stupid.

  4. Astor says:

    As a foreigner I can`t catch the both sentences:
    1) “I have to drive farther to work than to school.”
    My office is a longer way to get to than the school. And I have to work and study both.
    Or I have to go farther to another city to earn money because I can`t go to the school any more?

    2)” The student read further in the textbook.”
    Did anyone interrupted him from reading? And then he continued reading further.
    Or reading bored him and he moved to another page (from page 5 to 20)?
    Sorry if my question stupid.

  5. Gerry Puchalski says:

    The same distinction holds true when used as an adjective.
    “I live in the farther city.”
    “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
    As far as I know, only further can be used as a verb.
    You can “further your education”, but you can’t “farther your trash from the house to the curb”.