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Grammar 101: Then vs. Than

by IELTS

There are many words in the English language that look or sound alike but mean very different things. It may be difficult to tell which is the correct one in a given context, so it’s not surprising that many misuse these words without realising it.

We have compiled some “confusing” words to enlighten you in our Grammar 101 series – which will examine commonly confusing words and define them for you!

This month we will look at “then” and “than” that are often confused.

Then vs. Than: examined and defined for you

THENTHAN
IT IS AN ADVERB

A word that describes, gives more information about a verb, adjective, adverb or phrase.
IT IS A PREPOSITION,
CONJUNCTION


A word that is used before a noun, a noun phrase, or a pronoun, connecting it to another word.
DEFINITION

(a) At that time (in the past or in the future).
(b) Next or after that.
(c) In addition.
DEFINITION

(a) Used to join two parts of a comparison.
(b) Used with “more” or “less” to compare numbers or amounts.
SYNONYMS

Again, later, next, at that moment, soon after, at that time.
SYNONYMS

N/A
IN A SENTENCE

The toddler touched my cheeks and then pinched it hard.

Last night it rained and then turned cold and humid.

She then walked away, leaving all her belongings behind.

“What do you hope to achieve from this, then?” she asked him out of frustration.

Thank you,” Jane said and then blushed because she wasn’t used to compliments.
IN A SENTENCE

I think she loves Indian food more than I do.

She performed much better than I expected.

I can cook dinner in less than an hour.

Contrary to popular belief, I believe that Jane is a better actress than Kim.

Do you think the colour red suits me better than blue?

Reference: Cambridge Dictionary

Now that you understand the words and know how to use it in a sentence, take our 10-question quiz to test your knowledge.

Scroll down for answers

Quiz:

1. He has been in the business for more _____ 50 years.

2. The cupboard is much higher _____ he thought it was.

3. Jason will be busy _____, but he would be free to deliver the flowers to you the following day.

4. She feels that no one can be more disciplined _____ John.

5. If you can’t do it now, _____ when?

6. We catch up at school now and _____.

7. Add the eggs first and _____ put in the vanilla essence.

8. She is eligible for parole until half her sentence is served, rather _____ the mandatory one-third.

9. He predicts that homeowners are more likely to renovate _____ sell their homes.

10. I couldn’t speak to you earlier as I was out _____.

 

 

 

Answers:

1. than; 2. than; 3. then; 4. than; 5.  then; 6. then; 7. then; 8. than; 9. than; 10. then

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