Than vs Then – When to Choose Which One and Why?

Grammar can get confusing most of the time. Especially because they might sound the same and might have the same choices in vowels and consonants. But this is why we are here for. Than and Then. When to Choose Which One and Why?

Two terms share similar features, which may be difficult to distinguish from each other. How could you distinguish them? Even identical twins have unique characteristics in physical appearance and personality. A lot of people make errors with than vs then, but you can avoid being one of them. 501 Words will teach you a strategy to get to know them.

than vs then

How To Avoid The Than Vs Then Error

Are you confused by the then vs than debate? These two words are almost a clone, and it can be difficult to figure out which one you need. A good rule of thumb is to always remember that you are not writing a dictionary entry; you need to choose the word that suits the context. For example, if you are writing a speech, than is the proper choice for comparisons. If you are writing an essay, then is better suited for the description of an event.

In terms of functionality, then and than are a pair of complementary cousins. They are also among the 100 most common words in the English language. However, as you might expect, they have different uses. Let’s take a look at the similarities and differences between the two.

First, the most obvious difference is the number of letters used in their respective spellings. The more common “th” is found in “than,” while the more archaic “th” is found in “then.” Thus, in order to avoid the than vs then error, it’s important to remember the correct spelling of the word.

Second, there are a few other differences. For example, than has a much longer pause than then, and the’m’ is rarely pronounced. This makes than a less than perfect choice for comparisons.

Lastly, while the then vs than debate may be a bit complicated, it’s important to understand that they have similar functions. Specifically, they are used to show time and comparisons. While they are not exactly the same, then and than are still a couple of the most common words used in written and spoken English. It’s not surprising that people tend to get mixed up when it comes to the aforementioned.

So, which one is the better choice? There’s no surefire way to find out, but you can certainly test your knowledge with a little homework. You can do this by examining the above sample sentences to see which one is the logical choice.

Finally, don’t forget that both words are often misused. Although they are both technically correct, you might not want to go overboard when it comes to using the words. Some examples are tricky to nail, so you might have to practice a few times before you can say you’ve mastered the difference.

Hopefully, this guide has given you the tools you need to avoid the then vs. than mishap. But if you are still stumped, check out some of the articles in our library to help you learn more about grammar, vocabulary, and other writing topics. And please, do leave a comment below! We’re always happy to answer questions. Thanks for reading! Until next time, Happy Writing!

Well, I’m not going to stop there. Check out the other articles in our library and start your journey to mastering the English language. Whether you’re an English major or a seasoned native speaker, you’ll find the tips and tricks you need to succeed.

The Use of Than vs Then

Like toward vs towards or to vs too, we must know how to use than vs then to prevent any grammar lapses or just making a fool of ourselves. Here are some important things to note.


How to use Than 


A conjunction is a word that connects two clauses or coordinates words in the same clause. Than is a conjunction used to introduce the second part of an unequal comparison. It also introduces the rejected choice in expressions of preference. Finally, “than” may mean “except” or “when.” For example, Mark jumps higher than Michael.


Also, than can function as a preposition. A preposition links a noun or pronoun to a verb or adjective in a sentence to show a spatial or temporal relationship. Than also means “in relation to” or “by comparison with.” 


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Than is used in a lot of idioms such as “more fun than a barrel of monkeys” or “more dead than alive.” However, there are many others that may be new to you like “more sinned against than sinning”? Wouldn’t it be a fun project to find out how these colorful expressions started?


When to Use Then


Then often functions as an adverb that modifies verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. It also has lots of meanings: at that time, at the same time, next in order of place or time, soon afterward, as a consequence, or in addition.


Ethan stands next to Eric, then my roommate Claire, then me. Claire told me that since we made great progress in school, then we should celebrate. However, we have no money then.


Then is also used as an adjective or a noun. As an adjective, it means “being such, existing, or being at the time indicated” while it means “that time” as a noun. “My then-roommate Claire moved out and I have not seen her since then.”


Then also appears in some idioms. First, it means “on the other hand.” for instance, “Marcus is quite grumpy, but then he made me smile today.” It also means “at that exact time and place, or at once.” “I stopped right then and there, so I would not get in trouble.”


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FAQ’s


When to use than vs then?

Than can be used to introduce the second part of an unequal comparison or the rejected choice in expressions of preference. Finally, than can mean “except” or “when.”
Then functions as an adverb that modifies verbs and means at that time, at the same time, next in order of place or time, soon afterward, as a consequence, or in addition. Then means “being such, existing, or being at the time indicated” as adjective while it means “that time” as a noun.

How do you use than vs. then?

Then functions as an adverb that modifies verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs, which means at that time, at the same time, next in order of place or time, soon afterward, as a consequence, or in addition. It is also used as an adjective or a noun, which means “being such, existing, or being at the time indicated” while it means “that time” as a noun.
Than is a conjunction used to introduce the second part of an unequal comparison as well as the rejected choice in expressions of preference. Than can also mean “except” or “when.”


Conclusion


Then usually has a relationship with time, typically acting as an adverb, modifying other adverbs as well as adjectives and, of course, verbs. This gets especially confusing for non-native speakers or non-English speakers which makes sense. Sometimes, than can appear in comparisons about time. 


It’s therefore important to understand the difference between than and then.


There are plenty of examples that can define a perfect sense or grammatical sense for this comparison, if you know some, connect with us in the comment section below. You can also ask us about adverb definitions, adverb in sentences, types of speech, nuanced differences, preposition in comparisons, prepositional phrase, conjunction versus preposition usage, or other queries.

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