Monday, August 8, 2016
When to Use Then and Than
Then vs than
‘Then’ and ‘than’ are commonly confused with each other because apart from sounding similar, they are only one letter apart. However, it is important to note that they have different functions and uses in a sentence. ‘Then’ has different functions but it is commonly related with time, such as when telling sequences of events or providing instructions. It can be used as an adjective or adverb.
Using ‘then’ as an adjective:
Meaning ‘afterwards’ or ‘subsequently’ – “Walk down the road, then turn right on the first traffic light you see.” “We watched movie, then ate dinner with friends afterwards.” “The members of the Congress argued for the Bill’s passing, then came up with a decision after four days.”
As a result of something or consequence; or ‘in accordance to’ – “If you had only brushed your teeth regularly, then you wouldn’t suffer that excruciating pain.” “If you think it’s the right decision to make, then go for it.” “If this weather will not get any better, then I’m pretty sure my flight will be rescheduled.”
Used in replacement of ‘at that time’ or ‘by that time’ – “I could have used that dress when I was younger. I was slimmer back then.” “The meeting will be finished before then.”
Although limited in use, ‘then’ can also be an adjective meaning ‘at that time.’ “In 1981, the then President ordered the Secretary of Defense to strengthen the country’s military initiatives.” “Tommy was the then team captain of the basketball team when the school won their very first championship.” “Than is a conjunction word that introduces comparison and is usually followed by a comparative word.”
Unlike ‘then,’ which can be used as an adjective and adverb, the purpose of the word ‘than’ is to make comparisons between people, objects and situations. Here are the correct uses of ‘than:’ “If we are talking about financial reasons, money is way better than love.” “Angelica runs faster than Sofia.” “Your lunch looks more delicious than mine.” “Russia has a wider land area than Japan.” “I might have less workspace than you, but I also have a better work environment than you.”
In the examples above, the words better, faster, more delicious, wider and less are all comparative words.
Simple tips to remember:
· If we are going to make comparisons between two events, we use the word ‘than.’ Keep in mind that ‘comparison’ and ‘than’ both have a letter ‘A’ in them.
· If we are constructing sentences that pertains to time, we use the word ‘then.’ Again, the words ‘time’ and ‘then’ both have a letter ‘E’ in them.
· If we are still confused with their correct usage, we should try to use them interchangeably and see if they are awkward-sounding or not.