Posted by: episystechpubs | June 29, 2012

Editor’s Corner: Fur, Further, and Furthest

Oy vey! You folks ask some tough questions. Today we’ll address the following:

  • What is the difference between further and farther?
  • Are further and farther interchangeable?
  • If the root word for farther and farthest is far, is the root word for further and furthest fur?

Grammar Girl (on http://www.quickanddirtytips.com) gives us some good guidance:

Use “farther” for physical distance and “further” for metaphorical, or figurative, distance. It’s easy to remember because “farther” has the word “far” in it, and “far” obviously relates to physical distance.

Looking at the definitions on Merriam-Webster.com, you can use either word when your intended meaning is one of the following:

  • a considerable distance in space : to a remote place
    Example: The cabin is farther/further away than we thought it would be.
  • a considerable distance in time
    Example: The design of the 5000 BC wooden mask is the farthest/furthest from our current technology.
  • to an advanced point or extent : a long way
    Example: I’ve never walked farther/further than that in my life!

When you use the root word, however, you’re stuck with far. In other words, it is “this road takes you far beyond the village”; not “this road takes you fur beyond the village.” (Unless, of course, you are talking to a dog.)

And further is the word to use under these circumstances:

  • in addition: moreover
    Example: Their super-smoothies are further enriched by bee pollen.
  • going beyond what exists: additional
    Example: Further information is provided in the New Employee Handbook.
  •  to help forward: promote, advance
    Example: Taking additional courses while you work will further your career.

Have a good weekend! I have nothing further to say. 🙂

Kara Church

Senior Technical Editor
S Y M I T A R
8985 Balboa Ave.
San Diego, CA 92123


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