tagHow ToThen vs Than

Then vs Than

byAngel Love©

As a volunteer editor in the Literotica Editor's Program, one of my biggest pet peeves is the consistent misuse of the word then for the word than by many writers. There is a BIG difference my friends! Does anyone else's skin crawl when they see a sentence like this . . . His cock was bigger then most . . . or even this . . . We can talk it over than decide what to do? . . . shudders.

We have to educate ourselves as authors on the correct usage of words if we want to be appreciated by our audience (the readers). When a reader picks a story to sit back and well you know what to . . . smiles, he/she doe s not want to have to stumble over incorrect usage of a word. It is agitating and sometimes can and does mean the difference between a 4 and a 5 vote . . . yes one word can do it! As we are all too aware, if you don't use proper English grammar, spelling, punctuation and word usage . . . you will lose that reader and he/she may never come back again.

I have searched high and low throughout the Writer's Resources and surprisingly could not find one article that even mentions the problem. After researching the two words I have come up with my own How To on the subject. So here goes . . . my How To on the use of then vs than . . .

Merriam-Webster, which by the way is my favorite online Dictionary source, is the subject of this portion of the article.

It says that the function of then as an adverb is this:

1 : at that time 2 a : soon after that: next in order of time . . . He walked to the door, then turned. b: following next after in order of position, narration, or enumeration: being next in a series . . . First came the clown, then came the elephants. c. in addition: Besides . . . Then there is the interest to be paid. 3 a (1) : in that case . . . Take it, then, if you want it so much. (2) : used after but to qualify or offset a preceding statement . . . She lost the race, but then she never really expected to win. b : according to that: as may be inferred . . . Your mind is made up, then? c : as it appears: by the way of summing up . . . The cause of the accident, then, is established. d : as a necessary consequence . . . If the angles equal, then the complements are equal. - and then some: with much more in addition . . . It would require all his strength and then some.

The function of then as a noun is this:

--that time . . . Since then, he's been more cautious.

The function of then as an adjective is this:

--existing or acting at or belonging to the time mentioned . . . The then secretary of state was . . .

Now for Merriam-Webster's take on the word than . . .

The function of than as a conjunction is this:

1 a : used as a function word to indicate the second member or the member taken as the point of departure in a comparison expressive of inequality; used with comparative adjectives and comparative adverbs . . . She is older than I am. It is easier said than done. b : used as a function word to indicate difference of kind, manner, or identity; used especially with some adjectives and adverbs that express diversity . . . I'd rather be anywhere else than at home right now. 2 : rather than -- usually used only after prefer, preferable, and preferably . . . I would prefer to be tall rather than being too short. 3 : other than . . . Other than the usual day to day activities, we like to take a walk in the park before dark.

The function of than as a preposition is this:

--in comparison with . . . You are older than me.

And just so I'm not accused of playing favorites I will site from a few more online sources . . .

WordNet shows the correct usage of the word then:

The then president took over the problem; We will arrive before then; We were friends from then on; Then he left; Go left first, then right; First came lightening and then thunder; We watched the late movie and then went to bed; If he didn't take it then who did?; The case, then is closed; You've made up your mind then?; Prices were lower back then; They you'll be rich; I was younger then; Keep it then if you want to.

The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms sites these instances where than is used correctly:

Actions speak louder than words; His bark is worse than his bite; Better safe than sorry; Better late than never; Don't bite off more than you can chew; Blood is thicker than water; Your eyes are bigger than your stomach; He's more fun than a barrel of monkeys; More often than not; It was more than she bargained for; It was more than one could shake a stick at; There are more ways than one to skin a cat; No sooner said than done; Quicker than you can say Jack Robinson; None other than.

Ok, enough of that . . . I don't want to overload you with information. I think you have the point by now. So the next time I get a story to edit from you . . . you know who you are . . . there won't be any mistakes using the words then and than. It's really quite simple . . . if you are talking about time then use then and if you are talking about a comparison then use than.

I have one Author, God bless His soul that always makes this mistake. I have edited over 10 stories for Him now and yes each time He misuses then for than. Don't get me wrong, He is an awesome writer, but so stubborn. I keep telling Him that if I were the Domme and He the submissive, I would have to put Him over my knees and spank Him for His naughtiness . . . lol . . . Hey that might be why He keeps making the mistakes . . . Wicked evil Man that He is.

I know it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks, but if the dog wants its treat it must learn the trick. So if you want the votes to be high and the feedback to be positive then use proper English PLEASE . . . smiles.

Good luck to all of my fellow authors and editors. May God bless you every one and keep you happily writing and editing for a long time.

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