"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
1-minute read

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 Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.

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