Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Then and Than

The English language can be quite a confusing one, with so many words that are spelled similarly, and sound nearly the same too. Two of the most similar sounding and most confused words in the English language are then and than. Today, we want to examine both terms, then and than, to see what they both mean, in what contexts they are used, and what the main similarities and differences between them are. 

What is Then?

The word then is an adverb, which means that is describes an action in a sequency of events. In other words, actions can be situated in time by using the word “then”. To put it simply, then is used to indicate what happens next in a sequence of events. The word then may also indicate a consequence of an action, which still has to do with time, as the consequence happens after the action. With this word, there is a relationship between the past and future. 

What is Than?

The word than is substantially different, as it is not an adverb but rather a conjunction and/or preposition. In simplest terms, the word “than” is a comparative word, one used to compare two separate things to each other. In other words, the  word “than” indicates a difference between two or more things. 

Similarities Between Then and Than

The words then and than do share some similarities, so let’s take a quick look at what these might be. 

They Aren’t Plural

Interesting is that both words are not plural or singular in nature. Neither of them require any sort of numerical agreement.

They Are Functional

Another shared similarity is that both words are functional In nature, as they both determine the overall structure of a sentence. Than is about comparisons, whereas then provides contest about time.

Similar Pronunciation

Of course, the most obvious similarity between the two is that they share nearly the same pronunciation, which is often why people have trouble telling them apart. 

Differences Between Then and Than

Just like there are similarities between the two words, then and than also have some notable differences.

The Type of Word

Then is an adverb, as it describes a place in time, or in other words, it provides temporal context. Than is a conjunction or comparative word used to illustrate difference. 

The Function and Use

The function of than is to compare two or more objects, whereas the function of then is to illustrate a difference in time of sequence of events. 


The most obvious difference between the two is their spelling, as one features the vowel “e”, and the other “a”. 

Then vs Than

Summary of Differences Between Then and Than 

Other than the spelling being different, than and then have totally different functions and meanings. The former is a word used to compare two or more things, whereas the latter is used to indicate a sequence of events or a consequence of an event. 


How do you use then and than?

Use “than” to compare two things, and use “then” when referring to a sequence of events, as well as when indicating that there is a consequence. 

Where do we use then?

Then is most often used to say what comes next in the timeline of sequence of events. It can also be used to introduce the idea of a consequence into a conditional statement. 

What is an example of other than or then?

Other Than: Other than the red apple, there are no fruits here.

Other Then: This word cannot be used in this way, because “other” indicates that there is a comparison, but the word “then” cannot be used in a comparative nature. 

Should I say more than or more then?

If you are making a comparison, the correct term is “more than”. 

Is it OK then or OK than?

Ok than is not a saying, and the correct terminology is Ok then, which is often used to signify agreement, and in some cases to indicate what will happen next. 

What does OK then mean?

This term can be used to indicate agreement with a statement. In some cases, a person may also say “okay then” in a sarcastic manner, which indicates resignation or disbelief. 


Although both of these words are commonly used in the English language, as you can see, they are fundamentally different. Knowing the differences between then and than is important if you want to master the English language. 

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  1. This is some mistake in this article

    “Than is also used to show the logical result of a particular statement or situation. For example, you can say, if you miss that train then you’ll have to get a taxi.”

    it should be correct

  2. Great, I think I understand it now.
    Always been a problem to me, to know/understand the difference between them.
    I made and probably will make some more, mistakes on this one.


  3. I would rather use than than then but then I know English better than most.

    I must say that the prevalence of the internet has driven home just how illiterate this generation is !

    Innumerable cases of then being substituted for than and vice-a-versa.

  4. Well explained here . Earlier It was bit confusing when some explain in the sense of part of speech specially when someone comes from hinglish background difficult to understand.

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References :

[0]"Then" vs. "Than": What's The Difference? | Dictionary.com

[1]When Do I Use "Then" and "Than"? | Britannica Dictionary

[2]Than & Then | Definition, Usage & Examples | Study.com

[3]Then vs. Than - When to Use Each (With Examples & Worksheet) (grammarist.com)

[4]Than vs. Then: What’s the Difference? - QuillBot Blog

[5]Image credit: https://www.canva.com/photos/MADBdhG6BjI-then-and-now/

[6]Image credit: https://www.canva.com/photos/MAEEH_DluY4-more-than-words/

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