Things That Suck: When People Substitute “Then” For “Than.”

This may come as a shock to some, but then and than are completely different words. They also have very different meanings and are not interchangeable. Outrageous!

I realise that these two words have similar spelling. Yep, there is only one letter of difference between them. However that does not mean they mean the same thing…


I’m not sure if people have always done this and it’s only now, through the advent of the internet and social media, that we’re far more privy to how the masses spell/grammaticate (I’m pretty sure that’s not a real word…), or that people living in this modern/high tech age are significantly less literate than they used to be, but I come across this abomination of literacy CONSTANTLY.

Any other grammatical or spelling infringements I can let slide, but not this. This is what separates us from the animals.

It begins...
It begins…

I’m no grammar Nazi and, as you know if you read this blog regularly, am quite happy to butcher the English language if it suits my purpose. But for reasons unknown, I am compelled to challenge this atrocity whenever I come across it. For the greater good.
Be it to randoms posting on message boards, or to my friends and family on facebook. I simply can not let it go.

When I question this heinous massacre of the English language I’m typically met with a questioning of my sexuality followed by a stream of rage/expletives that more or less equates to “What’s your problem man? It was a typo. Chill out.”

My elderly Aunts can be quite aggressive when challenged. Like raccoons.

However, to this I say no. No it wasn’t and no I won’t. To quote the ever reliable Wikipedia, a typo is an error due to mechanical failure or slips of the hand or finger, but excludes errors of ignorance.” This is not that.

When trying to articulate that you’d rather die than go to that party by saying “I’d rather die then go to that party.”  it makes exactly the same amount of sense as saying “I’d rather die hypotenuse go to that party.

Unless you plan on attending said party post death. In which case I apologise.

We’re better than this people! It’s substituting the word you mean with another word entirely and unapologetically. And it sucks.

Author: Travis Nevers

Just another random blogger trying to make his way in this crazy world we all share. Sometimes insightful, sometimes not... Read along at home!

11 thoughts on “Things That Suck: When People Substitute “Then” For “Than.””

  1. I love your rant. But then, I’ve been known to send back my children’s letters from their teachers with red-lined corrections… (See, what I did here, using ‘then’ instead of ‘than’? I was going to mix it up just to mess with your head, but I could. not. write it.)

    1. I applaud your subtle aggression!
      When I have children I imagine I’ll doing the exact same thing. I mean, it’s because of these sub-par teachers that we, as a society, now have to deal with this then/than abomination.
      Where does it end!?

  2. Grammaticate not a real word? Well, it is now!

    Oh God, this misuse of then/than is so frustrating. I mean, it shouldn’t be that frustrating because it’s kind of nitpicking and I can see how people can make that mistake, but still – it’s wrong! This spelling violation is right up there with their/there/they’re and your/you’re.

    1. Awesome. I’m stoked to have added a word to the global lexicon!
      I know fully grown adults that still haven’t mastered the their/there/they’re and your/you’re quandary. Yet these same adults have no problem taking an engine apart and then reassembling it.

  3. Caution is imperative, that Sarah Palin can hear your you, and then she does not agree that then is not grammatically correct, that her follwers then will that then offencive. There.

  4. Wow, and I thought I was a pedant! I must admit to not having notice the rampant nature of this particular atrocity. I hang my head in shame and will increase my unreasonable vigilance forthwith.


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