One of my readers — I should say OUR readers, as I see the Owl flexing his talons — One of our readers asked about the words further and farther, which are so similar that it’s easy to get confused about which to use in which instance.
Grammar Owl to the rescue!
Farther refers to physical distance. It’s the comparative form of far. (Farthest is the superlative.) For example: I walked farther today than I did yesterday.
Further refers to philosophical/metaphorical distance. It means more, additionally, extra. For example: I thought further, considering my aching legs, and decided to walk a shorter distance tomorrow. Furthermore, I decided to warm up better before my next walk.
The Grammar Owl just prodded me with his beak to remind me that he’s come up with a memory trick that may help you. He calls it the Do-Re-Mi trick. If you’re thinking of length or distance, think “Fa — a long, long way to run.” Fa (that is, far) is a long, long way to run. Fur isn’t.
I hope this helps you (earworm at no extra charge 😉 ).
If you have a grammar or word use question for the Grammar Owl and me, please leave it in the comments. We’ll be back with another Grammar Owl post on January 20, 2017.