Further or Farther

How Do You Know When To Use Further or Farther?

Learning 365 new words a year is one of my perennial grammar goals. 


What a simple way to continue learning and growing in our careers, and word-a-day calendars make it easy. Each day introduces a new word along with the definition, pronunciation, word history, and sample sentence. It’s up to us to figure out how to use the featured word at least once that day in a workplace conversation. 


That’s where the fun comes in. I’ve been doing this so long, my colleagues and family members jokingly will stop me and say, “Well, I guess you just used your new word for the day.” They peg me every time.


I’m excited about the 2023 calendar. I’ve flipped through the pages, and I already know it’s going to be a challenge to use phantasmagoria and bimillenary in casual conversation. In fact, spellcheck didn’t even recognize the word bimillenary when I just typed it! Other words on the horizon are smarmy and bathetic and interrobang. I just hope I’m not guilty of catachresis when I use them.


But, we’re not committing grandiloquence in today’s blog. Rather, we’re focusing on a classic. See how you fare with these two word-choice sentences:


Farther & Further


  1. The restrooms were located [farther, further] down the hall from the conference ballroom than we had hoped.


  1. Ramani loves our monthly book club, but she tends to steer the conversation [farther, further] from the topic at hand.


Scroll for the answers:












  1. Farther
  2. Further


So, what’s the grammatical guideline? 


Use farther when discussing physical distance.


Use further when discussing figurative distance or discussing a degree or extent.


Let’s further our vocabulary with another commonly confused word pair next week. What would you like to see discussed?



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Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

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Photo by Gustavo Fring