I am having difficulty trying to distingush between then and than.
What I find confusing is their pronunciation, and when to use them.
He walked, stopped, than/then picked up a stone.
Should it be than or then, and why?
closed as general reference by RegDwigнt♦ Apr 4 '12 at 20:22
This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.
They don't share anything apart from the similar pronunciation, if you click them they will bring you to the OALD, where you can hear the pronunciation.
Than is used to introduce the second term comparison:
Then is a polysemous adverb. In case you don't know, polysemous comes from poly (many) + sema (signs). It describes a word that has many meanings, which change from the context, and then is one of those. It can be:
The examples and these multiple definitions were took from the OALD, because I thought it was well organised.
The word 'then' refers to one thing following another in time or causality ("It fell over, then broke")
The word 'than' refers to a comparison (usually where the two items are unequal) - for instance, "This big beefburger looks tastier than that limp salad"
As others say, the semantics of these words is very different and others have clearly defined the meaning. All that is left for you is to memorize it. Here is, a bit of etymology:
The adverb then developed first
A little mnemonic trick is to remember the letter e in "then" and letter e in "time".
So, even though the words have completely different meaning, they share etymology and in some languages they did not even develop into different words: