Monday, June 21, 2010

Today's Writing Tip -- When to Use Then and Than

People often confuse then and than, although they mean completely different things. Then is most often used as an adverb, and it indicates something that takes place after an initial action, whereas than is a conjunction usually used to make comparisons. Here are some examples:

"I ordered Chinese food. Then I went looking for a great DVD."

"I ordered Chinese food, which is much better than Thai in my opinion."

The hazard of using "then" is that it's easy to write a run-on sentence, because it often seems as though "then" is still part of your initial sentence. But it's not. Example -- "I got in the car, then turned on the radio." That's not officially correct. If you're a stickler for grammar, you can rephrase it by saying, "I got in the car, and then turned on the radio." Or make it into two sentences: "I got in the car. Then I turned on the radio."

Hope everyone enjoyed their Chinese take-in, DVDs, and great music over the weekend.

Sigrid Macdonald is a book coach, a manuscript evaluator, and the author of three books, including Be Your Own Editor, now available on (Paperback) and (Kindle).

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