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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Than vs. Then

The English words than and then look and sound a lot alike, but they are completely different. Here's how you can easily identify the difference between the two and begin to use them properly.

 
Than: a conjunction used in comparisons:

Examples:

Tom is smarter than Bill.
This is more important than you might think.
Is she taller than you?
Yes, she is taller than I.
 
Then: has numerous meanings.

1. At that point in time

I wasn't ready then.
Will you be home at noon? I'll call you then.

2. Next, afterward

I went to the store, and then to the bank
Do your homework and then go to bed

3. In addition, also, on top of that

He told me he was leaving, and then that I owed him money
It cost $5,000, and then there's tax too

4. In that case, therefore (often with "if")

If you want to go, then you'll have to finish your homework.
I'm hungry!
Then you should eat.
 
The Bottom Line is that than is used only in comparisons, so if you're comparing something use than. If not, then you have to use then. What could be easier than that?

Original information can be found here… http://www.elearnenglishlanguage.com/difficulties/thanthen.html

34 comments:

  1. I think when I get back to school on Monday I will just send my students to this post. They never fail to misuse these two words.

    Thanks for stopping by and wishing me well! I've been heavy on the tea and honey and have gotten a lot of what I wanted done. I'll be paying for it later, though. :)

    Selena

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  2. Selena...Bring them on! Many people have told me I would make a good teacher and I have the greatest resepect for them! also good to hear that the tea and honey are doing you well and that you got a lot done. Just make sure to get a good night's sleep so you don't pay for it too much!

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  3. Newest follower- I was a former teacher so I really loved the post.

    All the best,

    Clay

    http://www.tantrumstroublesandtreasures.blogspot.com

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  4. Found you through the Hop and thoroughly enjoyed reading this post... and THEN, I went on to read more. :)

    I'm looking forward to seeing what's next!

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  5. I HATE it when people use them incorrectly! It gets annoying.

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  6. Thanks for being brave enough to air my grammar rants!

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  7. Too funny! I love the image you chose to use :)

    In response to your comment on my poem, I think it surprised me so much because my poems have always been intensely personal so far. The only exceptions being a few I wrote as exercises for class or to go in a book I've been working on off and on for the last couple of years. But even then, the class exercises I twisted to be related to my life and the book was MINE so it was still personal! LOL

    The only way this poem is personal, is that my best friend just left to go back to Missouri, so I was missing her, but it definitely wasn't about her! Hmm...maybe this represents growth in my poetry?

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  8. It irks me when people confuse these two. It also irks me when people misuse "your" and "you're" (but never "yore").

    Interesting question: when would you use "awoken" as opposed to "awakened"?

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  9. HI Aubrie Anne!
    I'm "meeting" you for the first time via the No Ordinary Blog Hop! I love this grammar post! So original, educational and fun at the same time :) Your Bottom Line is hilarious :)
    Congrats too on your recent Versatile Blogger Award! It's always exciting to get a blog award!
    I'm following you now and look forward to reading more of your posts!

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  10. I agree, you would make a good teacher AubrieAnne. I mean some people just don't know the differences between than and then. Oh, the english language is so full of trickery.

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  11. A lot of the "sounds alike" is to do with accent I think. When an accent brings the two words closer together then the meaning can be distorted when taught. I can't say I've thought about the difference much because to my English ear the words sound completely different.

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  12. I'm a new follower of your blog and I hope you'll stop by mine and follow me too! ;-)

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  13. I need these grammar lessons very much! You are funny. I do butcher our language too many times!
    kim

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  14. Clayton...That's awesome! Thanks for following!

    Jo...BRAVO! It's nice to have you here.

    Sarah...Agreed! Hence, this post :) I hope it helps a few.

    Michelle...No problem. I love a good grammar rant!

    Rose...Thank you. It was really hard to find a picture for this so I just made one! I think it works great!

    Also, I know what you are saying. My poetry started out very personal (except it was all pretty happy because I was little and didn't have a care in the world, but it included many of my dreams. Now, I take a more creative approach, allowing it to tell a story or stepping into someone elses shoes. It's still a part of me, but no really about me.

    Matt...Agreed! I'm not real sure about Awoken and Awakened. I assume one works with past perfect and present perfect like "she had awoken" or "I have awoken" where the other is just plain past like "I awakened." I'm not positive on that. I'll write it down though, research it, and make it one of the "??? vs. ???" posts. :)

    Tracy...Hello! It is nice to "meet" you too and I am happy that you like the post and found it useful.

    dtwilight...Thank you. If I ever taught, I would like to teach college. I think it would be fun. And yes, many tricks in English!

    Maine Mummy...Yes, that could be. They also look a lot alike so that can be confusing if someone isn't really paying attention, but hopefully the difference, and when to use one over the another, can become such a good habit that you never have to worry about it.

    Danielle...Welcome! Please read the posts and join in the conversations when you get a chance.

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  15. Stuff could always get worse...That's what I am here for and thank you. I always try to enter humor into the blog, especially on more boring posts like this one or I find an article that uses a bit of humor. Anyway, the more you fine tune these little things, the less you butcher. :)

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  16. I love words and writing and editing. I even edit library books as I'm reading them.

    Curses of an editor/proofreader. LOL

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  17. Haha Aubrie! I love it. I'm probably guilty of using those words incorrectly but I'm first to point out the errors when other people do that.

    :)
    xoxo

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  18. Matt...It;s already on the agenda, but probably won't be up for a week or two. I like to spread these more "educational" posts out.

    Linda...lol! I edit books when I read them too! I find at least 1 or 2 really stupid typos in almost every book I read. It's like a game, but only for strange people like me. (The good kind of strange. :))

    Kate...Yeah, every now and then I will catch myself and think "what were you thinking." Then I will catch others and think "what were they thinking!" lol.

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  19. Of course; I wouldn't expect to see it right away.

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  20. Matt...Cool. I just wanted to let you know.

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  21. I see you're (not "your") a stickler for this as well. LOL!

    I was in College Prep English classes through Middle School and a portion of High School (dropped it due to an a-hole of a teacher). I'd ALWAYS scored extremely high on my written tests and in my other testing areas for spelling, grammar and literature arts.

    Am I perfect? Nope! Not by a long shot. And I am not a "grammar nazi", but at times, I do cringe at how people "talk" in their writings.

    And "there" vs. "their", and "you're" vs. "your" are probably the MOST misused in sentence structuring.

    As for text-speak? YIKES! My niece's boyfriend does that crap, even on his FaceBook and it makes me want to reach through and smack him around. Especially when it's so "coded" that I can't even tell what the hell he's saying.

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  22. FYI...Do you have a FaceBook page, Aubrie? I think we would be great friends on and off of Blogger. (=

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  23. proudmom...Oh gosh! I know! They seem so simple and know a lot of those mistakes are just because people are careless, not going over their work after they write it, or moving too fast for their own good. It's the little stuff that makes me cringe more than anythign else. Also, i was talking to a highschool teacher who was telling me that she finds text speech in FORMAL PAPERS for school! Can you believe that? Like they think it is professional!

    Yes, I do have a facebook page, but it is under Aubrie Parth (my real name) I use Anne (my middle name) for all my writing because I feel my first name is hard enough to remember and Aubrie Anne flows nicely. :)

    Matt...Indeed!

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  24. Aubrie Anne--I think that it's great that you offer an explanation on how to use these words. But I offer advice too. I once corrected a friend (at least I thought she was a friend at the time) and when I corrected her I tried to be as gentle and non-judgmental as I could but that little "correction" ruined our friendship and to this day she says the most vile things when it comes to me. The word in question was adieu but she spelled it a do. She quite often miss-uses the words "I" and "me" also. To me it is so easy to figure out which one to use. You just drop off the person you are talking about (as in John and me or John and I). When you drop off "John" then it sounds funny to say "me go to the store" (as in "John and me went to the store" or "John and I went to the store". So, I say cautiously and from experience, be careful who you correct. You can lose a friend easily. Funny thing, after I corrected her (I had sent her a gift for Christmas around that same time) she mailed me a thank you card and every (and I mean EVERY word was misspelled...even my name, my street, and my town on the envelope. It was so passive aggressive. Am I better off without her? Hmmmmm...it's hard to say! It's hard too say? It's hard two say??? What??? I'm being really silly now. It's WAY past my bedtime.

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  25. Ooops...I should have said "Be careful "whom" you correct!!! Words have a way of biting you back.

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  26. Funny...My middle name is Anne (spelled the same way!) as well. I got it from my great-Aunt Anne. (=

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  27. I'm not able to find you. My FaceBook is..
    http://www.facebook.com/mom23nutz

    Also, my Twitter is m0m23kidznKatz if you want to find me there.

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  28. Teri...I am very sorry to hear that. I will be careful. Usually when I am with my friends, I turn off the grammarian inside me unless that come to me to help them correct papers (which is pretty often. lol. but I don't mind.) When I correct people the most, it is during a workshop in a creative wrriting class and I'm working with near strangers. Plus, I'm doing it on paper instead of verbally calling them out. Plus, I know a lot of it is because what I am holding is a rough draft and they haven't gone over it really. Again, though, it is terrible that your friend had to take that so personally.

    Proudmom...So cool! Mine is a namesake too! I was named after my Aunt Annie that died when she was only 3 years old. Also, thanks for the link to facebook. I am going and friending you right now. I do have a Twitter account, but I haven't used it once.

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  29. I got a rep on a forum for correcting people all the time. One guy who had his handle changed to "JesusChrist" even named me his "proofpostle."

    Twitter is for twits, imo.

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  30. Matt...lol. That's great. Twitter just hasn't been my thing. I have nothing to update people on a couple times a day. Mine would look like "I woke up." "I am typing." "I am going to bed." It might be more interesting when I am in school again. Who knows.

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  31. I've been to Twitter one time. I don't update Facebook that regularly. On that note, I hardly see you on there, either. Twitter was just not meant for peeps like us.

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  32. Matt...Yeah, I'm really only on facebook to keep in touch with family and to get pictures!

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