Then/Than

When did this one start happening?

  • “It’s better to do it this way then that way.”
  • “I’d rather do a phone interview then do a face-to-face interview.”

Then? Whaaaaaaaaaaat!? It’s than! With an “AN.” … THAN! Than is usually used for introducing the second part of a comparison, or for introducing exceptions or contrasts.

  • “John is bigger than Paul.”
  • “It’s preferable to do a phone interview than a face-to-face interview.”
  • “How did Jim get promoted? He knows less than I do!”
  • “He had nothing in his hand baggage other than a PC.”
  • “They sit and watch rather than participate.”

It can also be used as a conjunction indicating when something happens immediately after another:

  • “The foundations were barely finished than the site was completely abandoned.”


Then
means “at that time” or “afterwards” or “next/subsequently.” Occasionally, then is used to mean “in addition to” and it can also be used as a substitute for “in that case” or “therefore”

  • “By then, Joan was at her best.”
  • “They took the first and then the second set.”
  • “I earn a decent salary and then there’s the bonus and car …”
  • “Listen carefully to me and then there will be nothing to worry about.”
  • “Well if Robo says it, that must be okay then.”

Then can also be used at the end of a sentence to indicate that an inference has been taken or to indicate that a conversation is concluded:

  • “So you’re still here then?”
  • “So that’s it then.”
  • “See you tomorrow then.”

Up with this I will not put!

Vizzini: “He didn’t fall? In-con-ceiv-able!”
Inigo: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”