Can "further" be used to refer to distance?

By B. Premananda Bhat, Manipal, India (10.12.2006).

Careful users of the language point out that the word "farther" should be used when talking about physical distance.

For example,

* The arrow traveled fifty yards farther.

* Renu lives farther down the road.

*Twenty miles is the farthest distance that Shilpa has walked.

But there is a tendency nowadays to use "further" and "farther" interchangeably in this context, when talking about physical distance. So don't be too surprised if you find some people replacing "farther" with "further" in the above sentences. It is not uncommon to hear people say,

* We walked further down the road.

• What's the furthest distance you have walked?

The word "further" can be used in the sense of "additional" and "greater extent".

* Amrit warned me not to take the subject any further.

• If you don't accept our terms, Mal, there will be further delays.

"Farther" cannot be used in this sense.

|Next Question| Previous Question| Vocabulary| English Teacher| Etymology|

From further to HOME PAGE