Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: than (2).

than (2). Today: For “then.” This error is so elementary that one might fairly wonder whether it is merely a lapse in proofreading. But it occurs with some frequency — e.g.: “Mr. Bennett did wake up several times, hoping to hear good news, if not about himself, than [read ‘then’] at least about the two stars of the film, Nigel Hawthorne, nominated for best actor, or Helen Mirren, nominated for best actress.” Sarah Lyall, “For Alan Bennett, Home Is Where He’s Heartened,” N.Y. Times, 19 Oct. 1995, at B3. This error is extremely common, perhaps because the two words are almost homophones in some dialects of American English. In any given instance, though, the error might be typographical. Language-Change Index — “than” misused for “then”: Stage 1. Next: “than me” or “than I”? For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “Short sentences are better. One of the easiest ways to write short sentences is to give each sentence just one job.” James W. McElhaney, Writing to the Ear, ABA J., Dec. 1995, at 74, 76.
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