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Farther is not Further

October 24, 2007

My mind swirls with awe when I see or hear people using “further” when they mean to use “farther.”  It’s in print, it’s on TV, it’s in idle conversation…the further switcharoo happens so frequently that I’m beginning to think that I’m the target in some grammar joke or conspiracy.  Hey, take some time to notice; you too will think that you’re the only one not in on the joke.

Further is used so often in place of farther, I believe people don’t even know that farther exists.  The rules are simple; I just don’t understand why people have such a problem with the correct usage.

Use farther when specifying sequences in physical distance (e.g. Why Geese Fly Farther than Eagles)

Use further when specifying sequences in degree or severity (e.g. Further Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat

Lesson Tutor has a great page about the proper usage for farther and further.  

Should you get stuck in furthering your correct usage, here’s something to keep in mind:  Farther is far, not fur.

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