My Wednesday posts are now devoted to all things wordy - grammar, etymology, writing, the works.
If it involves language, I'll be talking about it here.
The (General) Rule:
- "Than" is a conjunction that introduces the second part of a comparison.
- "Then" is an adverb that conveys an element of time.
- The key words here are "comparison" and "time"
- "Than" is used to compare one thing to another, and both "compare" and "than" have an "a" in them.
- "Then" is used to describe a time sequence, and both "time" and "then" have an "e" in them.
- Therefore, when the sentence involves a comparison, use "than," and when it involves time, use "then."
- My love for doughnuts is greater than my love for life itself.
- There are more doughnuts than vegetables in my shopping cart.
- The regular doughnut costs less than the premium doughnut.
- I like to eat a doughnut, and then eat another one.
- I'd love to meet you at the doughnut shop tomorrow. I'll see you then.
- First there were three doughnuts, and then there were two.
To Test the Trick:
If you think you should use the word "than," try substituting "in comparison to" in the sentence to see if it still makes sense. If it does, you've chosen correctly. To test "then," replace it with "next."
Comments, question, complaints? You know what to do.