"Then" Versus "Than"

Almost every week someone asks me to help them remember the difference between "then" and "than." Get the memory trick today.

Mignon Fogarty
then versus than

Heather asked about "then" versus "than."

Do you confuse "then" and "than"? Don't worry; you're not alone. I get this question all the time.

"Then" has an element of time. For example, it can mean "next" or "at that time."

  • We ate and then we went to the movies.

  • Movies were a lot cheaper back then.

"Than" conveys a comparison.

  • DVDs are more expensive than videocassettes.

  • Aardvark is taller than Squiggly.

Quick and Dirty Tip:  Both "than" and "comparison" have the letter "a" in them, and "then" and "time" both have the letter "e."


Tall and short photo from Shutterstock.

Get more tips like this in Grammar Girl Presents the Ultimate Writing Guide for Students. (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound)

About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of the Quick and Dirty Tips network and creator of Grammar Girl, which has been named one of Writer's Digest's 101 best websites for writers multiple times. The Grammar Girl podcast has also won Best Education Podcast multiple times in the Podcast Awards, and Mignon is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame. Mignon is the author of the New York Times best-seller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing" and six other books on writing. She has appeared as a guest on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and the "Today Show" and has been featured in the New York Times, Business Week, the Washington Post, USA Today, CNN.com, and more. She was previously the chair of media entrepreneurship in the Reynolds School of Journalism in Reno, NV. She hates the phrase "grammar nazi" and loves the word "kerfuffle." She has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University. Mignon believes that learning is fun, and the vast rules of grammar are wonderful fodder for lifelong study. 

You May Also Like...

The Quick and Dirty Tips Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices.