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    Interested in Language
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    #1

    easy way to remember differences between then and than.

    Hello,

    Is there an easy way to remember when to use then and than properly in English.I understand the difference when used and can teach to it but need a 'ditty' or'riddle' to help teach a friend that is a slow learner.

    Also, any other tips to help his learning experiencewould be grateful. His background: He is mid 20s and learns specifics at a slowrate. He has a normal life and is not handicapped or has any mental disorders. He works construction and handyman jobs. I would say he is a hands on learner. His goal is to get his GED. He has been dedicated to do this for several months and shows great improvement in basic math and history. English is his biggest hurdle.
    I am not a teacher, but enjoy helping him. I have teaching experience as a platform instructor in the military. He cannot afford a tutor. I know books could be written about adult learning and do not expect huge answers to my questions, but even a free learning website with downloadable course work that you could recommend would be very helpful.

    Thanks in advance!
    Buttoncl
    Last edited by buttoncl; 10-Feb-2015 at 00:49. Reason: format

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    #2

    Re: easy way to remember differences between then and than.

    You use 'than' for comparison between two things.
    You use 'then' to denote order, that one thing comes after another.

    not a teacher

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    #3

    Re: easy way to remember differences between then and than.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Buttoncl:

    Maybe the best way to help your student is to give him a list of example sentences to constantly review. Then when he takes the GED, those sentences may help him pass the test.

    Yes, it would be nice to have a mnemonic to help him remember the difference. Hopefully, someone will give us one.

    I found this comment that may interest you: "A number of handbooks are at pains to point out that than and then are different words. This is simply a spelling problem [my emphasis], of course."

    Then the comment continues: "Actually, then was occasionally used as a variant spelling of than in centuries past."

    I assume that your student is a native speaker. If he is, perhaps it is, indeed, "only" a spelling problem.



    James

    Source: Webster's Dictionary of English Usage (1989).

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