The words then and than are frequently confused, despite having distinct meanings and grammatical roles. If you are a beginner, there is high chance that you will confuse them at least once in your life.

The term ‘then’ (pronounced with a short “e”) refers to time. It is most commonly used as an adverb, but it can also be used as a noun meaning “that time” or as an adjective referring to previous status. The word ‘than’ (pronounced with a short “a”) is used to express comparison. It is usually used as a conjunction, but it can also be used as a preposition.

Examples: Then in a sentenceExamples: Than in a sentence
Follow the road for another mile, and then take the left.John is taller than Annie.
I was working in a software house then.I often like relaxing at home than going out with friends.

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Then is used to indicate the time

‘Then’ can be used as an adverb to arrange events or things. It can refer to both past and future events in time. For example:

Then as an adverb

– The population of the America was less than one million then.

– Simmer the desert, and then let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.

– We will take the bus to the mall and then go to the theater.

Then to indicate time

Then can be used as a noun to mean “that time.” Again, this can refer to the past or future. For example:

– Since then, I have never been to that place.

– Until then, we need to wait and don’t lose hope.

Then can also be used as an adjective to refer to a previous state or to indicate that something is from a specific time period. For example:

– The then HR was biased and opinionated.

We hope that now you are clear with the confusion of than vs then, you can also seek guidance from different English learning apps to learn the contextual use of such words and their key differences.

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Other uses of ‘then’

Then can also be used to express a condition or result, with the same meaning as “in that case.” It is also used to express a condition when combined with “if.” For example:

– “I’m not feeling well,” she said. “Then you should rest for a while,” said John.

– If you are allergic to cheese, then you should not order a cheeseburger.

In informal speech and writing, it can also be used to acknowledge that an agreement has been reached (e.g., “all right then,” “okay then”).

Than for comparison

‘Than’ is a conjunction or preposition used to compare two or more things. For example:

– I would rather travel by plane than by train.

– My brother plays snooker more than I do.

In informal speech and writing, it is common to use the objective case for pronouns (e.g., me, her, and us) in the second clause of a comparison. This is correct if the pronoun serves as a second object of the preceding verb; however, if it serves as a second subject, a nominative pronoun is required (e.g., I, she, we).

In formal writing, it is important to get this right, or your meaning could be confused:

– John likes the office more than [he likes] me. (WRONG)

– John likes the office more than I [like the office]. (RIGHT)

Other than or other then

Other than is a phrase that means “besides,” “except for,” or “apart from.” “Other than that” is never acceptable. For example:

– Annie doesn’t like her school, other than psychology.

More then or more than

More than is a common phrase that means “very” or “extremely.” It is used to emphasize an attitude or emotion expressed by the adjective following it. For example:

– John is more than willing to take care of his friend’s baby while they are away.

Some common phrases using than

Than is a very common word in English with a very specific meaning. It appears in many common proverbs and idioms, some of which are listed below:

– Blood is thicker than water. Meaning: family is the most important thing.

– Better late than never. Meaning: it’s important to turn up.

– It’s better to give than receive. Meaning: kindness is more rewarding.

– The pen is mightier than the sword. Meaning: dialogue is more impactful than fighting.

– Truth is stranger than fiction. Meaning: real events can be more bizarre than made ones.

Some common Phrases Using Then

Then doesn’t come up as much as than in famous idioms and proverbs, but we have provided some examples of common phrases that use then:

– Every now and then. Meaning: it occurs sometimes, but not very often.

– And then some. Meaning: and even more occurred than was expected.

– Then again. Meaning: however.

– Just then. Meaning: suddenly.

– Until then. Meaning: until the event (we were speaking of) occurs.

Than vs then: how to remember the difference?

The best way to remember the distinction between than and then is to concentrate on the letters that differ – ‘a’ and ‘e’. Than is used for comparison, and both than and comparison begin with the letter ‘a’. Then is used for time, and both then and time begin with the letter ‘e’.

Frequently asked questions

Q. When do you use then?

A. The term then (pronounced with a short “e”) refers to time. It is frequently used as an adverb, but it can also be used as a noun meaning “that time” and an adjective referring to a previous status.

Q. When so you use than?

A. For comparisons, the word than (pronounced with a short “a” sound) is used. It is usually used as a conjunction, but it can also be used as a preposition.

Q. Is it better than or better then?

A. Then and than are two commonly confused words. In the context of “better than”, you use “than” with an “a”. For example Annie is better than Sara.


We are assuming that now you are clear with the use of ‘then’ and ‘than’. Knowing the difference between such confusing words is essential especially if you are doing ACT English practice as you are going to be asked such questions in the tests. Refer to relevant examples to know the key difference and their uses.

You can also explore several English learning mediums such as Rosetta stone learning English but we recommend you evaluate all the concerned language learning mediums to come up with the best choice.

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