I am not one to point out misspellings as a rule. I understand that educated individuals sometimes type quickly and occasionally miss a letter or so. I know I have. But I see the misuse of the word "then" so often that I have to make mention of it.

Now, unless I have missed something in the evolution of English grammar in the past ten or fifteen years, the word "then" is commonly used as part of a conditional statement, such as: "If I am here, then I am not there" or in a continuing thought, such as: "First, you do this. Then you do that".

The word "then" is not used for comparison reasons. For example, the following statements: "I have a larger vocabulary then you do" and "My car seats more people then yours does" are incorrect. The proper word to use in these contexts is "than".

That's all.

Then (?), adv. [Originally the same word as than. See Than.]

1.

At that time (referring to a time specified, either past or future).

And the Canaanite was then in the land. Gen. xii. 6.

Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 1 Cor. xiii. 12.

2.

Soon afterward, or immediately; next; afterward.

First be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Matt. v. 24.

3.

At another time; later; again.

One while the master is not aware of what is done, and then in other cases it may fall out to be own act. L'Estrange.

By then. (a) By that time. (b) By the time that. [Obs.]

But that opinion, I trust, by then this following argument hath been well read, will be left for one of the mysteries of an indulgent Antichrist. Milton.

Now and then. See under Now, adv. -- Till then, until that time; until the time mentioned. Milton.

Then is often used elliptically, like an adjective, for then existing; as, the then administration.

 

© Webster 1913.


Then (?), conj.

1.

Than.

[Obs.]

Spenser.

2.

In that case; in consequence; as a consequence; therefore; for this reason.

If all this be so, then man has a natural freedom. Locke.

Now, then, be all thy weighty cares away. Dryden.

Syn. -- Therefore. Then, Therefore. Both these words are used in reasoning; but therefore takes the lead, while then is rather subordinate or incidental. Therefore states reasons and draws inferences in form; then, to a great extent, takes the point as proved, and passes on to the general conclusion. "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God." Rom. v. 1. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Rom. x. 17.

 

© Webster 1913.

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