Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Aaack, do I use "then" or "than"?

As long as I can remember, I've mixed up when it is appropriate to use "then" and when "than" is correct. I looked them up just a bit ago and was writing the correct usages on a little sticky note on my monitor, when, if I'd been a cartoon character, the stereotypical light bulb would have appeared over my head.

Look carefully at the bold letters below for an easy way to remember which to use when:

Use "than" when you're doing comparisons.
Use "then" when you're referring to time or a sequence of events.

Cool, huh? It's certainly easier than trying to remember which is which each time like I used to do back then--before I had discovered the letter clues.


Shall I tell you about "lie" and "lay" next? They're on the sticky note, too...

Once when I looked the lie/lay usage up, I finally wrote them on that sticky note on my monitor:

Use "lay" with a direct object. (I lay it down.)
Use "lie" without a direct object. (I lie down.)

Imagine the following in a grid (I'm not sure if the formatting will remain):

Form Lie Lay

Present lie lay
Past lay laid
Participles lying laying

Examples (not on sticky note):
I lie down on the bed and lay my book on the table.
Yesterday, I lay on the bed after I laid my book on the floor.
Right now, I am lying down on the bed and laying my book on the bed beside me.

1 Comments:

Blogger Sunny said...

Say "then" rather than "than" and then you'll know you'd rather have said "than" than "then".

11:22 AM  

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