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Posts Tagged ‘preposition’

A reader writes:

“Should I use ‘then‘ or ‘than‘ in this sentence? What is a hotter ticket ____ a ticket for the Elton John concert …”

Another reader wtires:

“I tell folks that ‘then‘ is time-related (‘back then‘ or ‘then we did that’); ‘than‘ is used to compare things (‘better than‘).”

This is a good tip.

We could really have fun and mess with the original question, thinking back to a wonderful time in music, by saying:

“What was a hotter ticket then than a ticket for the Elton John concert?”

We still follow the rule … using then to refer to time and than to compare.

Now, how about this little helpful tip/trick: Then rhymes with when (refers to time). Than has an a in it and so does compare.

then. adverb.
1. at that time: Prices were lower then. 
2. immediately or soon afterward: The rain stopped and then started again. 
3. next in order of time: We ate, then we started home. 
4. at the same time: At first the water seemed blue, then gray. 
5. next in order of place: Standing beside Charlie is my uncle, then my cousin, then my brother. 
6. in addition; besides; also: I love my job, and then it pays so well. 
7. in that case; as a consequence; in those circumstances: If you’re sick, then you should stay in bed. 
8. since that is so; as it appears; therefore: You have, then, found the mistake? You are leaving tonight then. 

then. adjective.
9. being; being such; existing or being at the time indicated: the then prime minister. 

then. noun
10. that time: We have not been back since then. Till then, farewell. 

than. conjunction
1. (used, as after comparative adjectives and adverbs, to introduce the second member of an unequal comparison): She’s taller than I am. 
2. (used after some adverbs and adjectives expressing choice or diversity, such as other, otherwise, else, anywhere, or different, to introduce an alternative or denote a difference in kind, place, style, identity, etc.): I had no choice other than that. You won’t find such freedom anywhere else than in this country. 
3. (used to introduce the rejected choice in expressions of preference): I’d rather walk than drive there. 
4. except; other than: We had no choice than to return home. 
5. when: We had barely arrived than we had to leave again. 

than. preposition
6. in relation to; by comparison with (usually fol. by a pronoun in the objective case): He is a person than whom I can imagine no one more courteous.

Source: Dictionary.com (see usage note)

UPDATE: We found this paragraph on a wikiHow article. It needs a “than” in place of an “as” because the writer is making a comparison. Take a look.

(click here for the real story)

“A recumbent bike is any bike where the rider is in a reclined position. These bikes are more comfortable to ride (once you get used to it!) and faster because of reduced wind resistance. However, there’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to balancing, starting, stopping and maneuvering a recumbent bike (as there is with an upright bike) but once you nail it down, you’ll wonder why more people aren’t riding them!”

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We found another great source for grammar tips, so, we hereby pass it … on:

Kenneth’s ESL Blog

Today, we especially like his posts on prepositions:

Noun prepositions, and the Preposition Quiz

Enjoy!

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We were just reviewing a business proposal …

“It’s a win-win preposition.”

Guess that would be a perfect deal for writers and readers alike.

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We were cleaning out the junk email today. This is something that usually takes just a few seconds. For some reason, this afternoon, we lingered on a couple of the messages, and it paid off.

Here’s to the GrammarSpammers for giving us something fun to write about on this Friday afternoon.

We swear, we could not make this stuff up!

“I wish I were in position to give you a detailed preposition.”

(Too bad. We would really like to see a detailed preposition. And, by the way, what posture would you have to be in to give it to us?)

“I am working as a consultant, with your sincere assistant and co-operation …”

(We wish we had a sincere assistant to give us cooperation.)

“… in spite of the economical crises …”

(It is good to know that some emergencies may be considered thrifty.)

And, finally, one for the “headline evokes image” category:

“Please pardon me for contacting you through this medium.”

What comes to your mind?

Here’s what came to ours:

contact-through-medium1

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A reader writes:

“Do you have an entry about whether one should use “toward” or “towards,” “backward” or “backwards,” etc. I’m always confused when it comes to those words.”

So, we will address this now.

Quoting Fowler: “toward, towards, towardly. The adjectives … are in all senses are obsolescent, or at any rate archaic, but untoward is still current. Of the prepositions the ~s form (towards) is the prevailing one, and the other tends to become literary on the one hand and provincial on the other.”

Toward that end, we will head towards the use of “Back words”

Again, quoting Fowler: “backward(s). As an adverb either form may be used; as an adjective backward only.”

In conclusion, we must admit some possible backward thinking in this area, as Grammar Police shall not ticket for going backwards or backward in direction.

Source: Fowler, H.W.. A Dictionary of Modern English Usage. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1965, pp 47, 644

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