What? I know it can be confusing figuring out when to use than instead of then. In fact, there are many confusing words in the English language. Some sound the same, but are spelled differently and mean different things. Some dont sound the same, are spelled the same but mean something different. Mastering the English language is a challenge. Dont worry about mastering the language, just make sure youre using the right words when youre writing and youll be fine.
So, when do you use then instead of than? The general rule is that than is used when you are doing a comparison. This yard is bigger than that one. That flower is prettier than yours.
Then has numerous meanings. It can indicate a point of time I will be ready then. It can mean next or afterward I will go to the bank then the store. It can also mean in addition, also, on top of that She told me to leave, and then that I owed her money. Finally, then can also mean in that case or therefore If you want to ride, then youll have to put on your seat belt.
Than is only used in comparisons. If youre not comparing something, you have to use then. What could be easier than that explanation?
Another word that gives people problems is their, there, or theyre. "There" is a location
The baby is over there. "Their" is possessive I went to their house. "They're" is "they are" They're watching us. The trick to using the right word is to slow down and think about why youre using the word. Are you trying to demonstrate a location, indicate a possession or form a contraction? Remember to check trouble words like this during the proofreading process.
Youre and your are often confused as well. Your is possessive while youre means you are. Youre wearing your shirt inside out. The same rule applies to its and its its is possessive and its represents it is. Its important to use the safety features developed by its manufacturer.
Many of these words are misused primarily because as writers and proofreaders, we are in too big of a hurry. If we slow down and think about the words we are using as we write, chances are we wont have many corrections to make during the proofreading process. In addition, slow down while proofreading to ensure a thorough and complete job. Read your piece backwards and youre sure to pick up misused as well as misspelled words.
Oh and lastly, irregardless is not a word. Always use regardless. Take care in choosing your words and youll be writing wisely.