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*Asterisk = examples of errors or poor constructions*.

Student Learning: Grammar

Common vocabulary mistakes

Than or then

'than' and 'then' are words that sound similar in spoken English, and so often get confused in written English. While it is sometimes possible to make sense with the wrong choice, the intended meaning might be lost.

  1. 3.1 Than:

    Than is only used when making comparisons between things.

Sebastian has always been taller than his sisters.

The ads on TV are always louder than the programmes.

  1. 3.2 Then:

    Then is used as a time reference, or for suggesting a sequence of events, or for signalling consequences.

Then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid (♪ like I love you ♬).

New Zealand quickly offered support to the UK. Then, we had much stronger ties to the 'motherland'.

First identify whether a problem exists, then establish the stakeholders involved.

If you do not leave the property immediately then I'll be forced to contact the police.

Hint: If it does not involve comparing things then it is probably not than that you need.