How To Use Farther vs Further Correctly

How To Use Farther vs Further Correctly

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In our everyday conversations, we rarely think twice about using ‘farther’ and ‘further’ correctly. However, our written communication requires a little bit of deliberation on whether to use the former or the latter. The correct use of ‘farther’ or ‘further’ allows the audience (reader or listener) to make the right presumptions about the sentence. Read along to discern the correct use of ‘farther’ and ‘further’.

Generally, Malaysians aren’t aware of the existence of the word ‘farther’. Most would use ‘further’ to indicate both meanings of the words. The word ‘further’ is more often used although both words carry the meaning of ‘greater distance’. Knowing the difference between the two and how to use both words correctly gives more mileage to your communication. Let’s begin with the definitions of both words.

Definitions of ‘Farther’ and ‘Further’.

Although both words carry the meaning ‘greater distance’, there is a slight nuance that differentiates between the two. Where ‘farther’ specifically indicates physical distance, ‘further’ indicates figurative distance. Other than that, ‘further’ can also be used as a verb that carries the meaning of ‘to aid’, or ‘to promote’. For this reason, many people are more inclined to use the latter than the former.

The benefit of using ‘farther’ in our communication is that it precisely shows that we mean physical distance. If a study says that ‘Farther study is required’, we are sure that the researcher means a study held farther than the distance he/she has explored is required. Whereas the sentence “Further study is required”, indicates that more research is needed and it doesn’t specifically mean to point at any physical distance bordering the study.

Let’s look at the examples below including its Bahasa Melayu translations.

The farther he walked, the more lost he felt.

Semakin jauh dia berjalan, dia terasa semakin sesat.
Note that the Bahasa Melayu translation of ‘farther’ in the sentence above is ‘jauh‘. This sentence is simple and gives an easy understanding of the use of the word ‘farther’.

We should also note that the word ‘farther’ in the above sentence can be changed to ‘further’. This WILL NOT alter the meaning of the sentence. As mentioned in a prior paragraph, both words carry the meaning of ‘greater distance’.

Farther ahead, she saw a petrol station.

Nun di depan, dia terlihat sebuah stesen minyak.
Note that the Bahasa Melayu translation of ‘farther’ in the sentence above is ‘nun‘. This sentence is a more sophisticated example of how to use ‘farther’.

We should also note that the word ‘farther’ in the above sentence can be changed to ‘further’. This WILL NOT alter the meaning of the sentence. As mentioned in a prior paragraph, both words carry the meaning of ‘greater distance’.

His thoughts imagined further about the possibilities.

Fikirannya mengelamun panjang akan segala kemungkinan.
Note that the Bahasa Melayu translation of ‘further’ in the sentence above is ‘panjang’. This shows that the word ‘further’ indicates ‘greater distance’ but in a figurative form.

We should also note that the word ‘further’ in the above sentence CAN NOT be changed to ‘farther’. This will alter the meaning of the sentence. As mentioned in a prior paragraph, ‘further’ precisely indicates figurative distance.

His thoughts imagined about further possibilities.

Fikirannya membayangkansegala jangkauan kemungkinan.
Note that the Bahasa Melayu translation of ‘further’ in the sentence above is ‘jangkauan’. This shows that the word ‘further’ indicates ‘greater distance’ but in a figurative form, as did the prior example.

They want to further their studies at a place farther than South East Asia.

Mereka mahu menyambung pelajaran di luar lingkungan Asia Timur Selatan.
Note that the Bahasa Melayu translation of ‘further’ in the sentence above is ‘menyambung‘ and ‘farther’ is ‘di luar lingkungan‘. This sentence shows the differentiation between figurative distance and physical distance within one sentence.

We should note that in this sentence the use of ‘further’ CAN NOT be changed with ‘farther’. But ‘farther’ in this sentence can be changed with ‘further’, although the repetitive use of the word makes the sentence less dimensional.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the correct use of ‘farther’ and ‘further’ improves the effectiveness of your communication. This is especially true when your sentence conveys the idea of ‘physical distance vs figurative distance’. Having this awareness can aid your communication as the first step to creating better sentences. Besides that, improved communication also benefits your audience in terms of their clarity of understanding.

One easy way to remember how to use the two words correctly is to remember that ‘farther’ denotes physical distance. By remembering just one difference between the two sentences, you’re already on your way to better communication. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to practise your sentences: why don’t you go ahead and try to create a sentence in the Comment section below. I shall respond with my comment and further explanation if needed.

If you’re a Baini Mustafa Weekly Email subscriber, you may reply directly to me. I welcome new subscribers here as this is where I share most of my thoughts and ideas. Be sure to subscribe if you haven’t already!

Enjoyed reading this type of content? Delve deeper into my grammar obsession (Malaysian edition) with the below topics:

‘Beware’ vs ‘Be Aware’
‘Moreover’ vs ‘Furthermore’
‘Cause’ vs ‘Because’

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