Than vs. Then

How to use "than" and "then" correctly

This is an entry on my list of Common Errors in English Usage. Visit the main page for direct links to additional entries.

Than and then have quite distinct meanings, but because their spellings are so similar, it’s easy to confuse them—like quiet and quite. Just remember that than is used in comparing (more than, less than, etc.), while then is used in referring to a sequence of events (e.g., ifthen…):



This is another error that’s often easy to catch by simply reading your own writing out loud.

Related Resources

Common Errors in English Usage: Errors in diction and idiom commonly made by native speakers of English

List of Common Errors in English Usage (PDF): Printable version of the complete list

Common Grammar Errors: A list of common errors in grammar (topics like subject-verb agreement and parallelism) as distinct from usage

List of Common Errors in English Usage: PDF version

© 2006, 2008, and 2019 C. Brantley Collins, Jr.