further/farther from the truth

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Aoyama, Jun 6, 2009.

  1. Aoyama Senior Member

    川崎市、巴里 (黎)
    français Clodoaldien
    The given expression seems to be "nothing could be further from the truth", but can it also be "farther from the truth" ?
    The Free Dictionary says : If we speak of a statement that is far from the truth, for example, we should also allow the use of farther in a sentence such as Nothing could be farther from the truth. But Nothing could be further from the truth is so well established as to seem a fixed expression.
  2. Istarion Senior Member

    Paris, France
    British English
    Personally, I make no great distinction between 'further' and 'farther' - I always assumed they were one and the same in terms of etymology and meaning; 'farther' being simply a more archaic spelling. But a quick Google search tells me I'm probably wrong - the first 5 results for 'farther' all seem to have something to do with the difference between the two.

    Here's the search, if you want to take a look at what some others say:

    Hope that helps,
  3. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    If you look at the forum threads about farther further you will see that if there is a physical distance involved you may use farther or further.
    If it is a figurative distance you should use only further.

    Even though we talk about something being far from the truth, it is a figure of speech, no physical distance being involved, so we should not say "nothing is farther from the truth."
  4. Aoyama Senior Member

    川崎市、巴里 (黎)
    français Clodoaldien
    Thank you Istarion.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2009
  5. boozer Senior Member

    Panjandrum's statement is both normative :) and true. It says more or less everything that can be said. I totally agree.
  6. aircraftman3 New Member

    Native: Polish; Variety: Englis(???)
    Further refers to metaphorical things, whereas Farther refers to countable distance-

    The only shop in the village is much farther than we thought.

    This idea goes much more further than we initially thought.

    regards, AK
  7. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Further is a "corruption or more modern form" of "forther", the comparative form of forth

    (Definition: forth: as adv. 1. forward in place, time, order, or degree)

    Farther is a "corruption or more modern form" of "farrer", the comparative of far, as in distant.

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