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Than vs. Then

Again, one letter can make all the difference (see Set vs. Sit), when it comes to clear communication. Just think about the potentially tragic scenario you’re walking into by claiming you’d rather warm up by the fireside then go out barefoot in the snow.


  • First your friend stole my guitar, than he played it on live television!
  • I would rather be vindicated privately then humiliated in public.
  • They ate more lunch then I did.


Then can be used to indicate a sequence (“He stole my guitar, and then played it”), or it can mean therefore (“If I drink a lot of water, then I won’t eat so much”); in addition (“The cake was good, and then there was the frosting”); or at that time (“Come over next week; we’ll have lunch then”). Than is used for comparison (“They ate more than I did”), but can also express preference (“I would rather play music than wash the dishes”).


Link then with time and than with comparisons, and you’ll never mess them up again. If you use then to indicate a sequence (first A, then B) and than to indicate a comparison (A has more X than B), you’re in rock-solid territory.

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