Main Difference – Then vs Than
Although the two words than and then sound and look alike, they have vastly different meanings and functions. The main difference between then and than is that than is a conjunction whereas then is an adverb. In spite of this difference, than and then are also two of the most confusing words in English. Let us look at the differences between than and then further in this article.
Then – Meaning and Usage
Then is an adverb which indicates time and consequence. It can be used to indicate three basic meanings.
Then – At that time
He didn’t know the truth then; he thought they were trying to help him.
Food products were way too costly then; people were starving.
He was recruited to the Special Task Force by the then president.
It was only then that I realized that I was at the wrong place.
By then, everybody was exhausted.
Then – Afterwards, next
I made dinner, and then my friends called me out for dinner.
I’ll drink my tea and then eat these biscuits.
He won the first race; then he won the second race.
He said that he had gone out for a drink with friends and then returned home.
Then – in that case, therefore
If he gives you the money, then you’ll have no worries.
If you do as he says, there’ll be no problem then.
As long as you don’t break the law then it’s OK with me.
Than – Meaning and Usage
Than is a conjunction used primarily in comparisons. It is interesting to note that than is a one of a kind word; it has no synonyms. Therefore, it cannot be replaced by any other word. Look at the following examples and see whether you can think of a word to replace the word than.
Her ten-year-old son is taller than his older brother.
Your old house looks better than your neighbor’s new house.
She thought that she was cleverer than anyone else in the world.
This proposed solution provided more questions than answers.
Apples are cheaper than oranges.
Than can also be used in expressions that introduce an exception or contrast. For example,
He prefers to observe rather than act.
I don’t have anything other than the clothes on my back.
He had not written more than ten words when the power went off.
Difference Between Then and Than
Then is an adverb.
Than is a conjunction.
Then means afterwards, at that time, in that case, next, etc.
Than is used to introduce the second element in a comparison.
Then is used to indicate the time or consequence.
Than is primarily used in comparisons.
Then is synonymous with afterwards, next, subsequently, etc.
Than cannot be replaced by any other word.