Posted by: Jack Henry | October 10, 2016

Editor’s Corner: Farther or Further?

Good morning and welcome to another Editor’s Corner.

I have a couple of questions for you today. What’s the deal with the words farther and further? Are they synonyms?

Well, not in the United States. (The story is different in the UK—I’ll explain later.)

Farther and further both relate to distance, and many people use them interchangeably, but here in the U.S., the words have slightly different meanings.

First, I’ll tell you what each word means, and afterward I’ll give you a tip that will help you remember which is which.

· Farther is used to denote physical distance.
Example: My son, who is in the Coast Guard, is getting ready to move even farther away from home.

· Further is used to denote metaphorical or figurative distance.
Example: My husband and I need to think further about where we are going to live now.

There’s a simple mnemonic that helps me remember which word to use: the word farther has far in it. And far relates to physical distance.

In the Queen’s English, further is used for both meanings. So, if you can’t remember which word to use and you’ve forgotten the mnemonic, just lapse into a British accent.

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Extension: 765432

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