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When to Use, "Then," and When to Use, "Than"

Updated on November 29, 2013

Then

Then is an adverb that denotes a time qualification or helps to order a sequence of actions. Whenever you are talking about when actions were performed you will use the word then, for example;

Then we saw a movie and fell asleep on the couch. Or,

What, then, will we do with? (remember the speaker is sequencing an order of events here) Or,

I was so much happier back then.

And so use the word, "then," when you are ordering events or designating that an action will occur or has occurred at a certain time.

Than

Than is typically used as preposition and deals with comparisons. It compares qualities of one noun or verb to the qualities another noun or verb. It also may be used when comparing a part of a hierarchical structure to the entire hierarchy any other piece or constituent to it's complete whole. For example;

This bowl of soup is hotter than yous. Or,

What could be better than good friends and family? Or,

Other than bananas he likes all types of fruit.

Notice in this last example we are comparing his like of bananas to his like of the whole hierarchy of fruits and so, "than," is still the correct use in this case.

Please post any questions. Hopefully you can use these words correctly more often than you used too. If so then your future writing should become increasingly clear.

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      Jane 2 years ago

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