Then vs. Than: What’s the Difference?

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The words then and than sound similar, but they have different uses. Since these two words share many of the same features, they are often misused. In this post, we will learn when to use them in sentences and how to remember the difference between them. So let’s get started. 

What Does “Then” Mean?

The word then relates to time. According to Collins dictionary, as an adverb, then means “at a certain time in the past or in the future.” As an adjective, then is used to refer to something that was true at a particular time in the past but is not true now. Besides this, then can be used to define one thing that happens after another on a list. Let’s learn different uses of then with examples.

When to Use “Then” 

Any easy way to remember whether you can use the word “then” is to plug in some words into your sentence to see if they still make sense.

Subsequently or Afterwards 

If you can use the words “subsequently” or “afterward” in a sentence, then you should use the word “then.”

Examples 

  • Go straight and then take the right turn. You will reach your destination.
  • I took a shower, and then combed my hair.

At That Time/In Those Days/That Time

If you can use any of the following phrases in a sentence, then you should use the word “then”: “At That Time,” “In Those Days” or “That Time”

 Examples

  • I was much better back then.
  • The hospital started in 2019 and since then it has treated more 1000 patients.

In That Case or As a Consequences

Examples 

  • If you exercised daily, then you wouldn’t be suffering from being overweight.
  • If that is how you feel, then let it go.

Moreover/Besides/In addition 

Examples 

  • We watched a movie, and then went out for dinner.
  • We ate almonds, cashews, and then raisins.

What Does “Than” Mean?

The word than is a conjunction, a word that connects sentences. It is used to make a comparison between people, objects, and elements. According to Collins dictionary, than is used after a comparative adverb or adjective to connect two parts of a comparison. Than also introduces the refused choice in an expression of preference. Additionally, the word can also mean “when” or “except.” Let’s learn more about its uses with some examples.

When to Use “Than”

Comparison

The most common use of than is to introduce a comparison.

Examples 

  • Your drawing looks better than mine.
  • John is taller than Jack.
  • Jack is smarter than Jill.
  • Russia is bigger than Australia by landmass.
  • She thinks you are better than us.

An Exception to a Statement

Than is also used to express an exception to a speech.

Examples 

  • Other than my dog, I don’t have any pets.
  • Emma needs to eat other than pizza if she wants to stay healthy. 

How to Remember the Difference Between “Then” and “Than”

There’s an easy way to remember the differences between the two words. The word then is generally used to indicate the time and both time and then have the letter “E” in them. Similarly, you can remember that the word than is used to make comparisons, and both than and comparison have the letter “A” in their spellings. 

Then and Than are quite close in their appearance, but both have different uses, meanings, and spellings. We hope this post makes these words less confusing.

 

More Grammar Tricks


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