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Difference Between Then and Than

Then vs Than

There is a marked difference between the two terms ‘then’ and ‘than’. ‘Then’ is an adverb where as ‘than’ is a preposition. The word ‘then’ denotes time and is used in the sense of both past tense and future tense. The word ‘than’ is used in comparison.

You normally compare two objects in the figure of speech called Simile. Simile is the figure of speech where there is a wealth of similarity between two objects.

For example you compare two things, namely, a good person and a mountain and say, ‘good people are lofty like mountains, but softer than mountains’. In this figure of speech, you compared a good person to a mountain. At the same time you observed that he is not hard like the mountain. He is softer than the mountain. Hence the word ‘than’ is used in the second part of a comparison.

The word ‘then’ is generally used to express the idea that one thing took place after another. No sooner I entered into the house then the telephone bell started ringing.

The word ‘then’ at times adds information to an expression. ‘He went to the office as usual at 10 a.m. Then the trouble started.’ It is important to note that the word ‘then’ is used often in the sense of reiteration. ‘These problems that I enlisted, then, are the reasons for my bad health. The word ‘then’ is also used to convey the sense of a consequence. ‘If I miss the bus today, then I would catch the train to reach my office in time.’

The word ‘than’ is used in the sense of ‘difference’ in comparison. ‘She likes sweets more than nuts.’ The word ‘then’ on the contrary is used to indicate the next thing in the series of happenings or actions. He ate two loaves of bread and then drank a glass of milk.


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