A word on Grammar: Old or Elder, Farther or Further

Very often I have been asked this question in class. What’s the difference between Farther /ˈfɑː.ðər/  and Further  /ˈfɜː.ðər/ and between Older /əʊldə/ and Elder/ˈel.dər/?

Farther /Further

Distance: both  farther and further are used to talk about physical  distance . There is no difference between them.

 Ex :    Leon is further /farther away than Oviedo

Additional: Further  is used  when we want to mean ” additional” ” extra” “more advanced”.

  Ex : For further information, see page 153.


We use Elder when we want to talk about the order of birth of the members of a family . They are only used before nouns, ie, in attributive position


My elder /older daughter has just found her first job

My sister is two years older than me

My eldest /oldest daughter has just found a job

Peter is the oldest student in his classroom

Now, fancy doing some practice?

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