In the previous three blogs, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3, of this grammatical mini-series, I’ve given some examples of the most common mistakes people make in grammar and explained what the differences are and how to know when to use what. I like to keep it to the basics, so anyone can understand and easily follow.
You do not have to be an aspiring author and/or have a masters in English literature to learn these simple rules. If you have a literature-unrelated business and writing isn’t your strongest point, you might think you don’t need to write great copy for your posts. But as I pointed out earlier, impressions count. And people will decide about purchasing your products and services on the basis of how you present yourself.
This mini-series will not cover all of the errors people commit, but the ones featured here are the most common ones. And once you eliminate these, you’re a long way towards a better presentation. As I always say, words carry power.
Don’t ever underestimate this and always put your best foot forward.
Grammar Error #7
I cannot begin to describe how often I have seen these used interchangeably. And in the comments on my blog posts, I have received quite a lot of feedback on examples for grammatical errors. The then/than one has featured quite high on the list of mentions. So let me explain the difference and when to use one or the other. It’s really quite simple and it’ll make a world of difference in your writing.
The online dictionary.com defines then in this way:
1. at that time:
Prices were lower then.
2. immediately or soon afterward:
The rain stopped and then started again.
3. next in order of time:
We ate, then we started home.
4. at the same time:
At first the water seemed blue, then gray.
5. next in order of place:
Standing beside Charlie is my uncle, then my cousin, then my brother.
6. in addition; besides; also:
I love my job, and then it pays so well.
7. in that case; as a consequence; in those circumstances:
If you're sick, then you should stay in bed.
8. since that is so; as it appears; therefore:
You have, then, found the mistake? You are leaving tonight then.
9. being; being such; existing or being at the time indicated:
the then prime minister.
10. that time:
We have not been back since then. Till then, farewell.
11. but then, but on the other hand:
I found their conversation very dull, but then I have different tastes.
12. then and there, at that precise time and place; at once; on the spot:
I started to pack my things right then and there.
Also, there and then.
Than, on the other hand, is defined as such:
1. (used, as after comparative adjectives and adverbs, to introduce the second
member of an unequal comparison):
She's taller than I am.
2. (used after some adverbs and adjectives expressing choice or diversity, such as other, otherwise, else, anywhere, or different, to introduce an alternative or denote a difference in kind, place, style, identity, etc.):
I had no choice other than that. You won't find such freedom anywhere else than in this country.
3. (used to introduce the rejected choice in expressions of preference):
I'd rather walk than drive there.
4. except; other than:
We had no choice than to return home.
We had barely arrived than we had to leave again.
6. in relation to; by comparison with (usually followed by a pronoun in the objective case):
He is a person than whom I can imagine no one more courteous.
Seems a lot to take in, but when we break it down, it comes to this simple result:
Looks quite easy to remember and use correctly now, doesn’t it? If we just take the technical terms out and boil it down to the essence, then things usually are much more straight forward than they seem. - Pun intended.
If you have any questions, don’t be shy to pop me a mail to email@example.com and ask. I’m happy to help make this world a better place and quality in the use of language is part of this.
Watch out for the next blog in this grammatical error series and subscribe to my blog:
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