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Writing Tip #105: Than and Then

Do we misspell words because we pronounce them incorrectly or do we mispronounce words because we spell them incorrectly? It’s the dilemma of the chicken and the egg. Like in previous examples, we have the words than and then that are so often misused. There is no easy trick to determine which one to use, so I’ll use a strange trick and maybe you can find one of your own.


  • used to compare two things. ‘I would rather run than walk.’ compares two actions.

  • ‘Would you rather have a hamburger or a hot dog?’ compares two items.

  • ‘I think the sunset is more of an orange colour than pink.’ compares two descriptive words (adjectives).

Because than is a comparative word, a hint may be and and than both have an.


  • connecting two actions. ‘I opened the door, then I walked in.’ ‘If you want a tip, then provide good service.’

  • is also used to relate to time. ‘just then’ ‘since then’ ‘back then’ 'until then’ ‘Then one day, I saw the man in the red coat.’

#writingtip #grammartricks #propergrammar #howtoedit #thanandthen

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