Then Versus Than

Confused sign

Then Versus Than

When trying to decide whether to use “then” or “than” does it leave you as confused as this sign? I hope we can clear up the differences between “then” and “than” with this quick tip.

THEN: According to the dictionary here is the definition:

As an adverb:

  • A point in time – For example:¬†Back THEN clothing styles were very modest.
  • Immediately or soon after – For example: Sandra stopped screaming, THEN started again.
  • Next in the order of time – For example: Joe went to the store THEN to dinner.
  • At the same time – For example: At first, her eyes looked blue, THEN green.
  • Next in order of place – For example: The winners of the Golden Goose writer competition were: 1st place – Joe, 2nd place Sue, THEN 3rd place Grady.

As an adjective:

  • being; being such; existing or being at the time indicated – For example: The THEN president of ACFW.

As a noun:

  • At a certain point of time – For example: Andrew hasn’t been back to Sue’s house since THEN.


THAN: According to the dictionary here is the definition:

A conjunction:

  • Introduces a second member of unequal comparison. For example: Judith is a better writer THAN I am.
  • Introduces an alternative or denote a difference in kind, place, style, etc. – For example: Texas has less restrictive gun laws THAN California
  • Introduces the rejected choice in expressions of preference – For example: I would rather write THAN watch television.
  • Except – For example: I had no other choice THAN to withdraw from the writing competition.
  • When –

To drill things down to the quick tip, then is used to show time. Next, after, in a series, etc., and than is used to compare. I hope this not-so-quick tip helps clarify whether to use THEN or THAN.

About mdyer

Marcy G. Dyer is a retired Registered Nurse and Amazon best-selling author.
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