Abstract The tetramethyldiamido phosphate group is described as a novel and tetracoordinated directing group in a reliable and synthetically useful β-lithiation of furan 1. Addition of 1.1 equiv. n-BuLi to 1 and quenching with electrophiles gave 2,3-disubstituted furans 3. In 98–100 % formic acid 3 is converted to 4 in good overall yield. Thus furyltetramethyldiamido phosphate 1 is a d 2-synthon for 2-furanone.