‘Farther’ or ‘further’?

Is there any difference between further and farther in the following two sentences?

She moved further down the train.

She moved farther down the train.

Both words share the same roots: in the sentences given above, where the sense is ‘at, to, or by a greater distance’, there is no difference in meaning, and both are equally correct. Further is a much more common word, though, and is additionally used in various abstract and metaphorical contexts, for example referring to time, in which farther is unusual, e.g.:

without further delay

Have you anything further to say?

We intend to stay a further two weeks.

The same distinction is made between farthest and furthest, e.g.:

the farthest point from the sun

The first team has gone furthest in its analysis.


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