Difference Between Then and Than (With Table)

The English language has many complexities but still is one of the popular languages among everyone. English grammar comprises of many rules, theories, and concepts, etc., which must have to be followed. So, do Homophones are one of the parts of it. These are the two or many words that are spelled differently but are pronounced similarly. Some of the examples of homophones are accept-except, then-than, dye-die, addition-edition, haul-hall, heal-heel, hear-here, heard-herd, and many more. 

Then vs Than

The difference between Then and Than is that the word Then is used in a phrase or statement relative to time, while the word Than is used in a sentence when any comparison has to be done between two objects, things words, etc. The word ‘than’ is used in some phrases such as – smaller than, bigger than, etc.

The word Then is an adverb (words help in describing the verbs) or adjective (words help in describing the nouns). It is mainly used relative to any time in past, present, or future tense. Consider the example given – Go straight and then turn left. He used to holiday in New York as it was then known.

The word Than is a conjunction, i.e., words used to unite two incomplete sentences or clauses to form a single meaningful sentence. It is used mainly to make comparisons between two or more objects, people, etc. The words associated with than are – more, less, bigger, shorter, slim, fat, and many more, which helps in building comparison. The word ‘than’ doesn’t have any synonym; thus, it is replaceable in a sentence or phrase.

Comparison Table Between Then and Than

Parameters of ComparisonThenThan
DefinitionUsed in relative to timeUsed to make comparisons
IndicateUsed or means afterward, next, etcThe second element in the comparison.
Synonym Afterward, next, subsequentlyIrreplaceable
ExampleWe have to wait till then until she picks me up.She is older than Ram.

What is Then?

It is a word used when someone has to tell something related to time. Except that it can be used when any afterward or next to related comments are to be made. This will be explained below with examples later. 

It is used as an adverb (words helping in describing verbs) or adjective (words helping in describing a noun) in a sentence. The word ‘then’ can be replaceable as it has many synonyms which can be used in a sentence instead of it like – subsequently, next, afterward, etc. 

There are some words associated with ‘then’ which can be used while forming sentences, such as – back then, just then, since, until, even then, now and then, then some, etc. 

Below are the examples based on the different situations where ‘then’ can be used – 

Subsequently – 

 From here, go straight, turn left and then take a right turn. 

The board meeting was held for three consecutive days and then concluded.

In that case – 

 If you have brushed your teeth properly, then you wouldn’t have any cavities.

If you feel upset about it, then why don’t you leave it back then? 

Relative to time – 

The work will be completed before then.

It was the responsibility of the captain back then to look after the strategies you have been playing with.

What is Than?

It is a word used when someone has to make a wide comparison between the two objects, entity, people, etc. It is used as a conjunction (which helps in joining two incomplete sentences, phrases, clauses, etc., into a single and complete sentence) or a preposition (words used before any noun or pronoun indicating time, place, location, etc.). 

‘Than’ is a word that cannot be replaced by any other word in a sentence as there are no synonyms of it. Thus, knowing to be an irreplaceable word. It also indicates the second element with which the comparison is being made. 

Some of the words associated with the word ‘than’ are – bigger than, smaller, greater than, smoother than, further than, etc. Sometimes other, rather, less, more, etc. such words are also used among with it. 

Some of the examples associating the word ‘than’ are given below –

I like fruits more than I like fruit juices. 

She is smaller than Riya.

Amanda has more money than Rahul has.

Raghav runs faster than Mehul.

Main Differences Between Then and Than

  1. The word Then is used in a sentence relative to time, while the word Than is used to make comparisons between the two things in a single sentence. 
  2. The word Then is an adverb, while the word Than is conjunction.
  3. The word Then means afterward, next, or sometimes just in case, etc., whereas the word Than is used to indicate the second element of the comparison. 
  4. The word Then has many synonyms, just like – afterward, subsequently, next, etc., whereas the word Than doesn’t have any synonym to replace it; thus, it is irreplaceable. 
  5. An example for the word Then is – I poured a glass of water and then sat down to drink it while considering the example for the word Than it is as followed – I like chocolates more than cakes. 


The words pronounced similar despite being spelled differently creates a misconception sometimes. The English language has many words which are pronounced similarly, but individually they have a different meaning of their own. Such are the above two words ‘then’ and ‘than.’ They have a difference of just a single letter ‘e’ and ‘a’ in them. But this single letter changes the whole meaning of the word.

Then is used when anything has happened (past tense) or happening (present tense) or will happen (future tense) relative to time, while on the other hand, Than is used when two or more entities are compared in a single sentence.

Then signifies something which will happen afterward or next, while Than signifies any second entity in a comparison. Then is used as an adverb or adjective (words that help in describing any verb or noun) in a sentence, while Then is used as a conjunction (joins two incomplete sentences to form one meaningful one) in a sentence.


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0305569032000159804
  2. http://web.cs.iastate.edu/~sbasu/course/Sem-Web-Seminar/slides.pdf
  3. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2332010?seq=1
  4. https://www.bmj.com/content/326/7382/219.full.pdf+html
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