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Than or then - Mixed messages and misused words from A to Z

Than or then - Mixed messages and misused words from A to Z

Than and then may be the most frequently mixed-up words in the English language. Folks may escape notice when misusing these two words in speech, but the issue is unmistakable in writing.

Than and then were, in fact, used interchangeably until the late 1600’s. Since then, however, these words have developed distinct meanings.

Than is used comparatively. We might say, “Diesel fuel costs more than regular gas this week.”

Then pertains more to time or order. For example, a circus director might announce upcoming performers by saying, “First the acrobat will go on, followed by the fire dancer and then the magician.

Consider this case in point for than and then:

If I eat fewer chocolate chip cookies today and run a few more miles than I did yesterday, then perhaps I will lose a pound or two. Hope springs eternal, right?

There you go, with than and then.

Misused word pair
Created by this user
At CoolText
 Abused and misused word graphics
adapted from public domain artwork

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  1. Great theme - enjoying your posts. I frequently get words mixed up as I'm hearing impaired and they sound the same (usually).

  2. I have absolutely no idea why people get these two confused. When speaking, they could possibly sound similar. But when written, it just comes across as laziness :/


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