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.


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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