Farther vs. Further

How to use "farther" and "further" correctly

This is an entry on my list of Common Errors in English Usage. Visit the main page for direct links to additional entries.

Strictly speaking, farther is used to express physical distance, while further is used to express figurative or abstract distance. It is acceptable to use further in place of farther (this usage is very common in British English), but don’t use farther to refer to figurative distance.

farther down the road (for a physical road only, not a metaphorical road)
further down the road

farther along in my studies
further along in my studies
prevent further deterioration

Related Resources

Common Errors in English Usage: Errors in diction and idiom commonly made by native speakers of English

List of Common Errors in English Usage (PDF): Printable version of the complete list

Common Grammar Errors: A list of common errors in grammar (topics like subject-verb agreement and parallelism) as distinct from usage

List of Common Errors in English Usage: PDF version

© 2006, 2008, and 2019 C. Brantley Collins, Jr.