Revised as of 29 September 2017
I find myself checking my wording with this one often enough. Just remember…
than compares or contrasts
then is time,
Don’t worry about the conjunction–preposition differences. The only truly important difference is that between than or then.
…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.
|Credit to: Dictionary.com than and then; Diffen.com;|
|Part of Grammar:|
|Conjunction; Preposition||Adjective 1; Adverb 1; Noun 2|
|Introduces an exception or contrast||Use in relation to time and the order in which events occur
Diffen.com suggests an easy mnemonic: then rhymes with when
Connects two clauses or phrases
Use in formal English with an unexpressed verb
Use in expressions indicating one thing happening immediately after another
In comparison with
Being, being such, existing or being at the time indicated
After that, next, afterward
In that case, therefore
Jack doesn’t know anymore than I.
He does public speaking far better than I.
They observe rather than act.
That’s easier said than done.
Scarcely was the work completed than it was abandoned.
She thought it possible that George was more than uncomfortable with the situation.
His hair was different than she remembered.
He claims not to own anything other than his home.
Other than that, the work is finished.
Yes, you are older than me.
She was thinner than me!
…the then prime minister
George Bush, the then president, went to war after 9/11.
We bought the land and then built the house.
She made up her mind then and there.
It simply didn’t feel right — not then or now.
His heated gaze met hers and then drifted to her lips.
The horse bunched up under him then.
When we get home, young man, then I’ll punish you.
|History of the Word:|
|First known use: 1700s, before then it was the same word as then.||Old English than(ne), thon(ne), thænne was originally the same word as then.|
C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!
Pinterest Photo Credits
A graphic from a post on “Ten Common Misused English Words Among English Language Learners” from the Interactive-ESL blog. (This blog is no longer active.)