Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Grammar: Than vs. Then

Here's a pet peeve: not knowing the difference between "than" and "then" and using the words interchangeably. 

THAN
     As a conjunction: "used in comparisons, to introduce the basis of comparison" (Wiktionary).
                I am a lot shorter than my sister Jodie, who is four years older than me.
     As a preposition: "introduces a comparison, and is associated with comparatives, with with words such as "more," "less," and "fewer."  Typically, it seeks to measure the force of an adjective or similar description between two predicates" (Wiktionary).
              There are fewer dinosaurs today than in prehistoric times; in fact, they are extinct species.

THEN
      Used as an adjective to give reference to temporal location or sequence.
               One of my new year's resolutions is to eat dessert first, then the main meal.
               I really enjoy shopping, it's like a disease... but then, so do most women.
      As a conjunctive: "in that case" whereby "then" is synonymous to and then, so, subsequently.
               And then there were none...

Please, spare me a little mercy.  Use them correctly!

devyn

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