Then is a word that puts things in order by time, or refers to a moment in time: you get up; then you have breakfast. You're married now; back then, you were single.

The word then can also be used as a consequence, often after the word if. If you watch the kids, then I will clean the house. Don't confuse then with than, which sounds similar. Than is used to compare two things: I like spaghetti better than macaroni and cheese. Then is about time or consequence: you eat dinner, then get dessert. If you're good, then maybe you'll get a big dessert.

Definitions of then
  1. adverb
    at that time
    “I was young then
    “prices were lower back then
    “science as it was then taught”
  2. adverb
    subsequently or soon afterward (often used as sentence connectors)
    then he left”
    “go left first, then right”
    “first came lightning, then thunder”
    synonyms: and so, and then, so
  3. noun
    that time; that moment
    “we will arrive before then
    “we were friends from then on”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    point, point in time
    an instant of time
  4. adjective
    at a specific prior time
    “the then president”
    earlier than the present time; no longer current
  5. adverb
    in that case or as a consequence
    “if he didn't take it, then who did?”
    “keep it then if you want to”
    “the case, then, is closed”
    “you've made up your mind then?”
    then you'll be rich”
Commonly confused words

than / then

Than compares things, but then is all about time. They sound similar and were even spelled the same until the 1700s. Not anymore! Vive la difference!

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Word Family

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