Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Then vs. Than

If you know me at all, you know that I care passionately about words. I care for words. So every now and then, if I come across a particularly clear explanation of a timely "word issue", I will post it.

If you have a pet peeve "word issue" - usage that drives you crazy - let me know! We will commiserate together ...

Here's a current pet peeve for me: using 'then' when the word that is needed is 'than'. Dictionary.com had this clear explanation:

What is the difference between then and than?

These two words are quite different! Their only similarity is in the way they sound. Than is used to compare or contrast things, as in "He is a lot smaller than his older brother." Then refers to time or consequence: "And the Canaanite was then in the land" (Gen. xii. 6.); "If all this be so, then man has a natural freedom" (Locke). So if one thing follows or results from another, use then. Than is also used before a pronoun, as in "Paul loves pizza more than me."


  1. The then/than issue has been much talked about in our home school - and usually left unresolved! That definition is the clearest one I've read.

    I LOVE words, too. Usually I have a favorite few... "isthmus" ranks high as it is so fun to say! :)

  2. "Isthmus" doesn't trip easily off the tongue, does it?! And the debate between "i.e." and "e.g." rages on with some of my colleagues and me. Shocking, isn't it - we're in publishing!

    Glad to know you love words, Jennstar!


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