Farther = more distant, further = to a greater extent?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by mzsweeett, Jul 12, 2005.

  1. mzsweeett

    mzsweeett Senior Member

    USA
    USA, American English
    Ok fellow foreros........
    Once again my sister and I are discussing words... we are confused with farther and further...neither one of us can make a clear distinction.
    I looked in OED and this is what I get:
    farther = more distant / further = to a greater extent; moreover; see usage on farther.

    Are these two synonyms or what? To me it looks like a AE/BE difference. Can someone please elaborate?

    Thanks a lot

    Sweet T.
     
  2. remosfan Senior Member

    Canada, English
    For me, the theoretical difference is that "farther" refers to actual distance and "further" to everything else, but in practice there is absolutely no difference between the two. (I guess "further" in the sense of "furthermore" can't be replaced by "farther", but I don't use it to mean that anyway).
     
  3. Eddie

    Eddie Senior Member

    Nassau County, NY
    USA - English
    I agree with Remosfan. I use both words at my whim. There are many distinctions between words in English that are completely ignored.
     
  4. mzsweeett

    mzsweeett Senior Member

    USA
    USA, American English
    So then basically I can use either one interchangeably..... without fear of misuse??

    Sweet T.
     
  5. CBFelix

    CBFelix Senior Member

    Longman dictionary says;

    When you are talking or writing about real places and distance you can use either farther, farthest or further, furthest
    e.g. farther/further down the road. /What's the farthest/furthest distance you've ever run?

    Further (but not farther) is also used with the meaning 'more', 'extra', 'additional' etc.
    e.g. A college of furher education. / For futher information (not farther) write to the ....
     
  6. NTFS

    NTFS Banned

    XXXXXX
    Account Closed due to security reasons
  7. remosfan Senior Member

    Canada, English
    The last is very true, and that last bit is a difference in my speech too. But for me at least, farther is not limited to "real" distances. E.g. "Montreal went farther in the playoffs than Boston" is fine to me.
     
  8. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    If you are dealing with someone like me, who had a huge harridan for an eighth grade English teacher, farther is used only for distance, and further for conceptual extent.

    I don't "correct" people who mix and match...it just doesn't matter enough. I like precision in language, when I'm not striving for vagueness, so I do distinguish between these words.


    cheers,
    Cuchu




    PS...just in case....


     
  9. Eddie

    Eddie Senior Member

    Nassau County, NY
    USA - English
    Yes, MZ. Most people don't know the difference; and those who do, such Cuchu, me, and the other respondents to this thread, can choose to follow the rules we were taught in school or not.
     
  10. Inara Senior Member

  11. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I think I would only use further, myself.

    Do I pronounce both words the same way?
    If reading aloud, I would pronounce them slightly differently - rather as I would pronounce far and fur differently:)
     
  12. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    I think farther is not only more widespread in AE than BE, but also in the north as opposed to the South. In fact to my ear, admittedly a little rusty in southrenisms, farther has a distinctly Yankee ring to it.

    Not only is further much preferred, the r is so unstressed you hear futther, as in "he thowed it futther'n a country mahl." The slight spoonerism I mentioned above really is the pronunciation you hear for Southern.

    One difference between farther and further that helps me sort things out a little is that the latter can also be used as a verb. You could "farther" something in the South, I guess, but you might end up paying chahld support.
     
  13. mzsweeett

    mzsweeett Senior Member

    USA
    USA, American English
  14. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Linguistic patrimony?
     
  15. mzsweeett

    mzsweeett Senior Member

    USA
    USA, American English
    Thank you one and all for assisting me in my dilemma...... fresh coffee and pastries (not to be confused with pasties..... ;)) for all!!!

    Hugs,

    Sweet T.
     
  16. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
  17. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Futhamawh,

    you are welcome to copy and use any of these...

     
  18. claude23 Senior Member

    normandy
    FRANCE
    Hi,


    If someone wants to go to a certain place. May I say , go this way then it is further away or further up ?


    Thank you,

    Claude.
     
  19. whatonearth Senior Member

    UK, English
    I don't really understand your question...?
     
  20. maxiogee Senior Member

    imithe
    If the person is trying to get from London to Bristol, the shortest way is to go direct. If someone asks if they should go to Bristol from London - by way of Birmingham, then you would say "That is a longer route" but it would not be "further away" - Bristol is always going to be the same distance from London no matter what route the traveller takes, it cannot be "further away".

    "Further away" can only be used when comparing how far two, or more, different places are from a third place. Manchester is close to Liverpool, Edinburgh is further away (from Liverpool than Manchester is).
     
  21. *Cowgirl*

    *Cowgirl* Senior Member

    USA English
    Wouldn't it be farther away? BE AE?
     
  22. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Farther should only be used to mean more far:)
    Further can be used to mean in addition, extra, more advanced.
    In BE we can use further to mean further or farther, so lots of people, Panj included, always use further to avoid having to think too hard.

    Check Here.
     
  23. claude23 Senior Member

    normandy
    FRANCE
    Sorry I didn t explain it well !


    I meant I am looking for my way to a certain place... for example I am in Baker st and I want to go to Baggot st. so I ask someone on the street who said keep going straight it is futher up . I was wondering if i could use further away instead of further up.



    Thank you,

    Claude
     
  24. *Cowgirl*

    *Cowgirl* Senior Member

    USA English
    Probably not

    further along would be fine though
     
  25. claude23 Senior Member

    normandy
    FRANCE
    By the way is it farther away or further away ?
     
  26. *Cowgirl*

    *Cowgirl* Senior Member

    USA English
    either one, see panj above
     
  27. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Hi Claude...
    Panj suggests further, while I would say farther. I try--not always successfully--to use farther to refer to geographic distance (think of far away) and further for all other kinds of separation.

    regards,

    Cuchu
     
  28. frog.arch

    frog.arch Junior Member

    Hanoi
    vietnam/vietnamese
    Hi,
    According the sentence Look no further, We couldn't say Look no farther.
    So there are any diffrences between FURTHER and FARTHER?
    Thanks
    Frog
     
  29. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Please use the forum search facility to find the several previous threads that discussed this topic. If you still have questions, either ask them on one of those threads or if necessary come back here.

    A short summary:
    In AE and BE, farther may only be used where physical distance is involved.

    In AE, further may only be used where physical distance is not involved.

    In BE, further may be used in all contexts including where farther would also be acceptable.

    As a result, there are many BE speakers who don't use farther at all, because further is always right:D
     
  30. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    I would only add that AE is not uniform in the use of further, which has a wider range of meanings in Southern AE. And, for good or ill, it tends to be pronounced futther.
    .
     
  31. heidita Senior Member

    Madrid, Spain
    Germany (German, English, Spanish)
    Dear friends, it has happened again. Only the other day I was mentioning one of my students marked down for saying"
    If I were here....

    And on Friday I had this piece of news: another student got down-marked for using farther instead of further.

    The exercise was simply using the comparative and superlative of the adjective, like this, in a row:

    far further furthest

    I told her she could use just as well

    farther and farthest.

    So she did and was promptly down-marked. Why?

    "The comparative farther is regular and the teacher asked for an irregular one!" I mean.....

    Well, in any case, would you personally rather use farther or further. Not a very interesting question, but anyway....

    (down-marked with a hyphen?)
     
  32. Siberia

    Siberia Senior Member

    UK-Wales - English
    [SIZE=-1]FARTHER denotes physical advancement in distance.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]FURTHER denotes advancement to greater degree, as in time.[/SIZE]
     
  33. heidita Senior Member

    Madrid, Spain
    Germany (German, English, Spanish)
    Siberia, do we agree that hey are both irregular?
     
  34. Siberia

    Siberia Senior Member

    UK-Wales - English
    Yes, they are both irregular.
     
  35. Robbo Senior Member


    Parochialism aside, what's wrong with further?

    Robbo
     
  36. in every day english farther is not used as much as further it just sounds better even if there is no difference in the meaning
     
  37. Robbo Senior Member

    As discussed before, subject to regional preferences, further and farther are often interchangeable when referring to physical or metaphorical distance.

    But there are several other usages where they are *not* interchangeable in BE (others will speak for their regional variations). For example:

    He is studying further mathematics at university. (=higher)

    Due to lack of evidence, the police decided to take no further action. (=continuing, ongoing or additional)

    She's trying to further her career by studying for an MBA. (verb)(=advance, assist, improve)

    Further to your recent letter, I am pleased to tell you that .... (
    =regarding, following or as a result of)

    Further analysis revealed Polonium 210 poisoning. (=additional)

    I hope this helps a bit!

    Robbo
     
  38. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    The thing is that further/furthest is so much prefered that it is simply used in all contexts. This is not the case with farther/farthest which occupies the niche of physical distance, and as far as I am concerned I'd really find it as a sign of a good language comprehension and advancement of a student who used it in a correct context. Nevertheless, it is flagged as wrong when used in different ones than the abovementioned since it simply cannot, according to textbooks, be employed in a more figurative sense. Thus, when your student was supposed to do an exercise by simply filling in the gaps with appropriate forms of comparatives/superlatives the teacher could find the a versions as inappropraite since he/she supposed that only the general forms were to be included not the ones used very sparingly and with a limited range of usages. It really depends on the exercise but I think that a student should learn to use the general forms and then the more advanced ones so that he/she knows how to use them.


    Tom
     
  39. heidita Senior Member

    Madrid, Spain
    Germany (German, English, Spanish)
    Thank you Tomas.

    No, the girl is 11. Not advanced.

    The exercise was very simple:

    Put the comparative and the superlative:

    far

    good

    bad

    etc.

    And the teacher refuses to up-mark her. I am known as a pig-head but this woman beats me.
     
  40. Gutenberg

    Gutenberg Senior Member

    Province de Québec, Canada
    français international
    Kenneth G. Wilson (1923–). The Columbia Guide to Standard American English. 1993.

    farther, fartherest, farthest, further, furtherest, furthest (advs., adjs.)


    Use either farther or further as an adjective for literal distance (The airport is farther [further] than I had figured), but also use further to mean “additional,” as in She gave a further opinion that evening. (The adjective further used to be limited to such figurative uses, just as farther continues to be applied only to literal distance.) As adverbs, farther and further are nearly interchangeable today, although further is much more frequently used: We walked further [occasionally farther] today than ever before. He expanded further [rarely farther] on his original proposal.
    <<... excess quoted text removed ...>>
    I hope it helps...
     
  41. MarcB Senior Member

    US English
    The OED gives this for both BE and AE: (Webster agress)
    — USAGE Is there any difference between further and farther? In the sense ‘at, to, or by a greater distance’ they may be used interchangeably: she moved further down the train and she moved farther down the train are both correct. However further is a much commoner word, and in addition it is used in certain abstract contexts, for example in references to time, in which it would be unusual to substitute farther, e.g. have you anything further to say?; without further delay.
     
  42. danielfranco

    danielfranco Senior Member

    So it's "far-farther-farthest." I suppose then the "normal" word for "further-furthest" is "fur". [Okay, fine, lame joke....]

    "How much farther 'til we get there?"
    "It's the furthest thing from my mind."

    I can't remember ever learning these words as a set of a vocabulary list, but only learned them through common usage. I didn't even know until today that there were rules about it. Coolness. That's what WRF's are for.
     
  43. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    You are dealing with a very close-minded and unfair individual, I think.

    These are both possible, for all the reasons given:

    far, farther, farthest
    far, further, furthest

    Without context it is absolutely impossible, in my opinion, to guess which set of answers is desired.

    Gaer
     
  44. stranger in your midst

    stranger in your midst Senior Member

    English / Scotland
    Farther is used literally, e.g. Paris is farther from London than Birmingham.

    Further is used abstractly, e.g. I would further argue that...

    That's all !
     
  45. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    I hope you don't mind, Gasman. I think we're supposed to try and keep our writing in this forum as "proper" as possible.:)
     
  46. stephenlearner Senior Member

    Chinese
    Hi,
    Please have a look at these two groups of sentences. A was asking B to walk up.

    A: Walk up.
    (B walked up.)
    A: Walk a little further.

    A: Walk up.
    (B walked up.)
    A: Walk further up.


    Does the former further mean the same as the latter further? I think not.
    I think we can say "walk a little further/farther", but I don't think we can say "walk farther up".

    What do you think?
     
  47. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    I think this is the best answer:

    To be safe use "further" when "farther" won't work. We obviously cannot say "farthermore" in place of "furthermore". No one will say, "Do you have anything farther to say."

    In all other cases it is a matter of feel and preference.

    Farther up, further up...

    Both of these work for me. It seems to me that in BE "further" is used more frequently. I see no grammatical advantage to either one.
     

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