Commonly Confused Words: Farther/Further

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Is plaintiff’s claim farther or further attenuated than the bad precedent they cite to?

Uses of Farther:

  • Farther (adjective or adverb): Farther is used as an adjective or adverb that indicates physical distance between objects or from an object to a reference location: “The defendant’s requested venue is farther from the crash site than from the plaintiff’s chosen forum.”

Uses of Further:

  • Further (adjective or adverb): Further can be used as an adjective or adverb in several ways: (1) as an adjective describing metaphorical distance (“Plaintiff’s statement couldn’t be further from the truth”); (2) as an adjective meaning “additional” (“further research is required”); or (3) as an adverb describing the degree of an action (“let’s discuss this matter further”).
  • Further (conjunction): Further can be used as a conjunction to mean “also” or “in addition”: “Further, even if plaintiff’s assertion were true, it is legally irrelevant.”
  • Further (verb): Further can be used as a verb that means “to promote or advance progress”: “Her contributions furthered the movement towards equal protection.”

Rule—Farther or Further: If you need an ADJECTIVE or ADVERB, use further unless you are describing or comparing physical distance, then use farther. For any other part of speech, the correct word is further.

Now let’s advance your learnings even further with some practice problems.

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1. Which sentences use the underlined phrase correctly?

 I. The plaintiff lives farther than 20 miles from the scene of the incident.

II. Further inquiries revealed that the witness had a conflict of interest.

III. The defendant’s alibi was further from the truth than initially thought.

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2. Which sentences correctly use farther or further?

I. The suspect was seen running farther down the street after ditching a gun.

II. The investigation needs to go farther to uncover the truth.

III. Although her two-mile swim was impressive, she swam even farther the next day.

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3. Which sentences correctly use farther or further?

 I. The judge decided to further the trial to the following month.

II. The jury needs further evidence to make a decision.

III. Farther, the defense never established the requisite intent to prove arson.

Your score is

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