‘Farthest’ and ‘Furthest’ are superlative adjectives or adverbs. Both these words are irregular superlative forms of the word ‘Far’.
Both these words ‘Farthest’ and ‘Furthest’ is used in denoting the distance. Incidentally, there is no much difference in their meaning.
The context in which these two words are used makes a whole lot of difference. Moreover, the usage of these words changes the context itself.
- Farthest is an adjective or adverb to describe the greatest physical distance or separation between two or more points or objects.
- Furthest is also an adjective or adverb that can describe the greatest physical distance. Still, it can also describe metaphorical or abstract distances, such as progress or extent.
- Although these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, using “farthest” for physical distances and “furthest” for abstract or metaphorical distances can provide clarity and precision in language.
Farthest vs Furthest
The difference between Farthest and Furthest is, the underlying meaning. ‘Farthest’ and ‘Furthest’ are superlative adjectives, however, while using it in a sentence to denote a distance, the former is mentioned as a comparison factor with something whereas the latter does not compare any for the distance mentioned.
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‘Farthest’ most of the times denote a physical distance, though not actual. But ‘Furthest’ indicates a physical distance, though not actual but longer than the distance conceptually.
At times, the word ‘Furthest’ can also mean a place that is interior or remote. Also, there are instances where the word ‘Farthest’ denotes the longest distance, conceptually It denotes the distance in a specific direction.
There are a lot much difference that these both have between each other. Understanding them to use it in the right areas shall make a good difference in speaking and writing.
|Parameter of Comparison||Farthest||Furthest|
|Definition/Meaning||Farthest is used to denote physical distances directly.||Furthest is used to denote distances in a non-physical or an abstract way.|
|Contextual Usage||Farthest is used in comparison with something or someone.||Furthest does not compare with any.|
|Conceptual Usage||Farthest describes distance as a physical quantity.||Furthest denotes distances as a higher degree.|
|As a Verb||Farthest is never used as a Verb||Furthest can be used as a Verb|
|Phrasal Usage||Farthest never features in any phrases||Furthest features in phrases too|
When to Use Farthest?
‘Farthest’ is a superlative adjective or adverb of the word ‘Far’. It is utilized in the English language to denote distance that is longer than expected.
‘Farthest’ is used in many contexts. Let us see one by one.
- ‘Farthest’ indicates the physical distance that is so remote or more distant compared to any.
- Among all the students, John lives the farthest
- What is the farthest distance have you run in your life?
Above two sentences denote the physical distance. More importantly, they are in comparison with something.
Sentence (i) talks about John who lives the farthest in comparison to the students of his class. Sentence (ii) talks about the distance ran by a person in comparison with his other distances covered.
- ‘Farthest’ can also indicate the time factor indirectly.
- John has been travelling the farthest so far.
- Lilly came from travelling the farthest distances.
Both the sentences indicate distance, No doubt. But, it indirectly specifies the time factor.
Again, take look at this sentence
‘John has not travelled the farthest’
This sentence has two underlying meanings
- John has not travelled far
- John should not take so much time as he has not travelled so far
The word ‘Farthest’ thus indicates the physical attributes of a context.
When to Use Furthest?
‘Furthest’ is again a superlative form of the word ‘Far’. It is also utilized to denote longer distances but it is non-physical most of the times.
‘Furthest’ is a word that also helps to describe the time taken to complete a certain task. There are also many ways the word ‘furthest’ can be used.
- Remote and very long distances can be denoted using ‘Furthest’
- The expedition team went to the furthest ends of Mars
- The thieves ran away to the furthest corners of the jungle.
- ‘Furthest’ can also help in denoting spatial distance from a specified point
- Go to the furthest left corner from the refrigerator.
- The knife lies near the kitchen which is at the furthest end.
These two sentences denote a point that is specific in spatial contexts.
- The word ‘Furthest’ helps in indicating a particular point at the current moment
- We must travel the furthest distance
- The objective is to cover the furthest distance
- ‘Furthest’ is used in the English language to denote a higher degree of something.
- You may have to stretch your legs to the furthest
- This project may take the furthest time of all
In these two sentences, the word ‘ furthest’ denotes the higher degree of a particular action or a situation.
Main Differences Between Farthest and Furthest
- The words Farthest and Furthest tend to denote the distance factor, however, the main difference between Farthest and Furthest is, the former denotes the physical distance as such while the furthest denotes the higher degree of the distance measured.
- ‘Farthest’ always features itself as a comparison factor with something while furthest stands independent and does not compare with any.
- Farthest denotes the physical distance covered while the furthest attempts to indicate a non-physical or an abstract distance.
- Farthest cannot be used as a verb while Furthest can be used.
- Farthest never features in any phrases in the English language while Furthest is used in phrases too.
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Emma Smith holds an MA degree in English from Irvine Valley College. She has been a Journalist since 2002, writing articles on the English language, Sports, and Law. Read more about me on her bio page.