Difference between Then and Than

Then and than, two English words, are very often confused for one another and used improperly. Both of these words have correct usages, and this article will help explain the difference between them.


Then vs Than

Then is a word that’s used to give a sense of time or sequence to actions. It is an adverb, meaning it modifies the verb being used in the sentence. Here is an example of two usages of “then”:

I went to the washroom and then I washed my hands.
I was living in New York City then.
The thief snuck into the building. Then, he tripped the alarm by accident and the police showed up.

Than is a conjunction that’s used to make comparisons. When you are trying to say that two different objects have different qualities to one another, or that two different subjects have a different way of completing a certain verb, you would use “than.” A few examples can be seen below.

I enjoy spicy food less than he does.
Her car is bigger than his.
That soccer player is better than all the other soccer players.

Comparison chart

Then Than
Adverb Conjunction/comparative
Used to give a sense of time or a sequence of events Used to compare the qualities of two objects or subjects

Then vs Than

What is the difference between then and than?

Then is an adverb used to sequentially explain a series of events or give a distinct sense of time to a certain event or entity, whereas than is a conjunction that’s used as a comparative, or in other words, used to compare the qualities of two objects or subjects.

Below are some examples using the words correctly and incorrectly, with the incorrect examples explained.


His dog is louder than his cat. Then he should train his dog better.
Their son plays football better than ours, but our son plays lacrosse much better than theirs.
He dislikes spicy food? Then he’ll dislike this dish I made.


The man enjoyed working more then he enjoyed relaxing.

The reason this is incorrect is because the sentence is trying to say that the man enjoys one thing more than another. In this incorrect usage (even though the grammar is incorrect), the sentence says that the man enjoyed working more, and then he enjoyed relaxing. If a conjunction like “and” were used, then it would be correct.

They took the dog to the park, than they went home.

The sentence is trying to explain a sequence of events – the subjects take a dog to a park and then go home. There is nothing to compare, so the sentence doesn’t make sense.


The humorous video below features CM Punk, a pro wrestler, explaining the difference between then and than.