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THEN and THAN: Exercise & Videos for You

Updated on June 15, 2014

Communication is Key to Success

THAN is related to the concept of comparison (comparing two things, people, or ideas).

THEN is always related to the concept of time.

THAN and THEN are a pair of the most often misused words in the English language.

Sometimes the mistake comes from only a spelling error - typing or writing an "e" instead of an "a."

Other times, the problem is that young students have not been able to hear the difference between the sounds of the "e" and the "a" and therefore use the wrong letter when they grow up. Some of these individuals also pronounce both words the same way. Sometimes the sound that comes out is a cross between THAN and THEN and no one can tell which word was said - the sentence is understood form the context of the words around THAN or THEN. This could be done purposely to avoid someone correcting the speaker's grammar, or it could be only a habit.

A similar habit is writing an "i" and an "e" next to each other to both look like the "i" and then placing the dot in between the two letters. This often avoids learning to spell "ie" and "ei" words correctly. As adults, many people get busy and never have or take the time to fix this situation. Spell checking programs associated with computer word processing come in very handy to help with this.

Remember this fact:


THEN rhymes with HEN, BEN, DEN, MEN, PEN, TEN, YEN.

THAN is comparing at least 2 things or ideas:

"I can do anything better than you can. I can do anything better than you." from the musical "Annie Get Your Gun."

THEN means something about time:

Not now, but I can do it then. (THEN = at that point, at a later time).

I paid the bill, but then found out I forgot to pay the extra surcharge. (THEN = after that, at a time in the future).

Go to the corner and then turn right and you will find the post office. (THEN = next).

If you want dessert, then you must eat your vegetables. (THEN = in that case; if ...then).


If you or someone you know has trouble with THAN and THEN, you can practice aloud and/or in front of a mirror. Really exaggerate the difference in the sounds between the a and the e. Open your mouth wider when you practice saying THAN and make a mental note of how that feels as you say it.

Open your mouth less when you say THEN and remember how that feels. Practice saying THAN 20 times and take your time and don't rush. Notice how saying the word makes your mouth and face feel. Then relax and take some cleansing breaths. Then, practice saying THEN 20 times and relax. Then continue the exercise this way.

Say this aloud:

THAN (10 times out loud),

THEN 10 times,

THAN 5 times,

THEN 5 times,

THAN 3 times,

THEN 3 times,

THAN 2 times,

THEN 2 times,

And finally:


This is a lot of facial exercise, so if you get tired around the 10-times mark, quit and pick it up again tomorrow. Start at 20 times each and work your way down, hopefully getting father each day.

After you have accomplished this exercise, try saying each word as you write it or type it, 10 times each.

This should help!


Than Or Then?


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