Monday, June 08, 2009

A Grammatical Question

I used to to know the difference - and it doesn't seem that long ago, but call it aging grey matter but now I'm getting confused and it's driving me nuts!!

What is the difference between then and than in a sentence and when does one use which??? I have this horrid feeling I'm getting them confused now - and I don't like that one little bit. No siree I do not!! So I must get them back into the grey matter in order to avoid embarrassment when using the wrong word.

Much obliged.


Anna/ocelott said...

"then" refers to time. "Back then, real men wore shirts with puffy sleeves."

"than" is comparative. "I wonder if said puffy shirts were more comfortable than today's dress shirts."

Rosie said...

What Anna said...

Barbara said...

Hi Kristie!!

"Then" like Anna said, refers to a period in time, whereas "Than" is simply a comparrison.


Rather THAN stay up late, I turned in early last night.

I ate my dinner, THEN had dessert.

Hope you had a great weekend!

nath said...

LOL, some people are faster than me :) So there, you go, Kristie :)

azteclady said...

And... you can use then to describe the order in which things happened (which helps remembering that it's for time)

i.e., I did this, then I did that, then I did this other thing.

Lea said...

And so, the lady has her answer... ;)

Don't worry Kristie, I have brain farts all the time and it is with respect to much less mentally challenging grammatical issues.

Have a great day and week.


Kay Webb Harrison said...

Dear Kristie,
I think the problem is with the editing of books these days. I have frequently noticed the misuse of "then/than" and I believe that it might be the result of too much reliance on SpellCheck, rather THAN (not THEN) a lack of knowing the difference between the two words.


Kristie (J) said...

Kay: I like that explanation ever so much better THAN dying and decaying brain cells - see I was getting so confused I was going to use THEN in that sentence. And you are right!! Spell checker doesn't pick up that kind of error.

Lea: *laughing* my brain farts are getting longer and louder all the time!!! And forget about short term memory these days!!! It's almost non existent.

AL: Thanks! Another little clue to remember. I'm going to start carrying around little bits of paper soon I think!

Nath: *g* But the intention was good!

Barbara: I need all the help in remembering these things. My weekend wasn't bad - but I had to work and I was bored at work - well not so much bored as not in the mood - but then you know that - heh heh heh

Rosie: I'm glad other readers are coming through for me :-)

Anna/ocelto: Thank you SO much!! There are a lot of little things like that bugging me these days but the then/than thing was bugging me the most. It was getting to the point where I didn't even want to use them anymore as I was starting to get so confused!!!

Carolyn Crane (aka CJ) said...

Good question! I agree with the above. What good is a blog if you can't ask these sorts of things? I could fill a month with them.

I once sort of forgot how to use commas!!!

Amy C said...

CJ, the dreaded comma!!

orannia said...

Maybe it's just me, but sometimes if I look at a word too long the spelling looks....wrong. 'The' is a classic example!

And forget about short term memory these days!!!

Stress also affects your short-term least that is what my GP tells me :)

Kristie (J) said...

Orannia: Oh - me too! Often when I'm typing a word and it just doesn't look right, I'll type in in Word and do spell check *g*.

Amy and CJ: LOL - me too - I go comma crazy sometimes and I swear I use them way to often. So now if I'm not sure, I'll do a dash.

CindyS said...

I now get confused over when I'm supposed to use 'our' or 'or' in spelling words like colour, neighbour etc. U.S spelling is just 'or' but since I know I'm Canadian I spell with 'our'.

Then I get into labour or honour and can't remember if I'm just adding that 'u' in there and it's really not supposed to be there. I still don't know.

I think this one will be very confusing to read!