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Than and Then

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Confusing then and than is a mistake we frequently see online, even made by native speakers. Although their spelling and pronunciation may appear similar, they have very different meanings.


Than can be either a conjunction or a preposition.

It can be used to join two parts of a comparison or used with 'more' or 'less' to compare numbers or amounts:

I am a lot older than my brother.

There are fewer people here than last year.

I would rather go to a restaurant than a bar.

It’s colder than I expected.


Then has more than one meaning but it is generally used when talking about time and the order of events.

When used to refer to a particular past or future event:

When I lived in Los Angeles I surfed every day.

She's going to the party too, so you will see her then.

Call me after 7pm, I should be back by then.

When used to show the order of events or actions:

First I have to pick up James, then Peter.

Finish what you need to do, then we will go.

Now decide if these sentences need than or then:

  • 1) We went to the bank ___ to the hairdresser.

  • 2) I'll speak to you tomorrow, I'll have more time ___.

  • 3) Will the package have arrived by ___?

  • 4) I look older ___ you.

  • 5) I was a lot healthier ___.

  • 6) It was much easier ___ I remember.

  • 7) I'd rather ride my bike ___ walk.

  • 8) She finished her homework, ___ went out.

  • 9) At first there were hardly any people here, ___ there were a lot.

  • 10) She got a higher score ___ anyone.