Definition of THAN

THAN Conjunction and Preposition

Than is primarily used as a conjunction and a preposition in English. It is commonly employed to make comparisons between different entities, qualities, or quantities.

THAN as a conjunction

Than as a Conjunction: As a conjunction, than is used to introduce the second element in a comparison. For example, “She is taller than her brother,” compares the height of two people.

Comparison of Qualities: When used as a conjunction, than helps in comparing different qualities or states. For instance, “This cake is sweeter than the last one,” contrasts the sweetness of two cakes.

THAN as a preposition

Than as a Preposition: As a preposition, than is also used to introduce the second element of a comparison, although this usage is less common and often debated in formal grammar contexts. For example, “He is better than me at tennis,” uses than to compare abilities.

Subjective and Objective Cases: In comparisons, the case of the pronoun following than can sometimes be a point of contention. For example, “She is smarter than I (am)” versus “She is smarter than me.”

Expressing Preferences: Than is often used to express preferences between options. For example, “I would rather go out than stay in,” shows a preference for going out over staying in.

Quantitative Comparisons: Than is frequently used to compare quantities. For instance, “There are more apples than oranges,” compares the number of apples to oranges.

Complex Comparisons: In more complex sentences, than helps to make nuanced comparisons. For example, “He is more interested in science than he is in literature,” compares levels of interest in two subjects.

Everyday Usage: In everyday language, than is a staple for making simple comparisons. For example, “She runs faster than I do,” is a straightforward comparison of running speeds.

Conclusion: In conclusion, than is a crucial word in English used as both a conjunction and a preposition to facilitate comparisons between different entities, qualities, or quantities. It plays an essential role in expressing differences and preferences in everyday communication and formal writing.

Examples of THAN in a sentence

THAN as a conjunction in a sentence

  • She is taller than I am.
  • He works harder than anyone else in the team.
  • The movie was more interesting than I expected.
  • It is better to be safe than sorry.
  • She sings better than she dances.
  • He would rather read a book than watch TV.
  • The situation turned out worse than we thought.
  • She is more dedicated to her job than to her hobbies.

THAN as a preposition in a sentence

  • She has more experience than me.
  • He is older than her.
  • The project requires less time than expected.
  • She earns more money than him.
  • He scored higher than his classmates.
  • This laptop is cheaper than that one.
  • The journey took longer than anticipated.
  • She is more talented than any other student in the class.

Origin of THAN

The term than has its etymological origins rooted in Old English and reflects comparative concepts associated with the comparison of quantities, qualities, or degrees.

  • Old English Roots: “Than” traces back to Old English as “þanne,” derived from the Proto-Germanic word “*þan,” meaning “then” or “at that time.” In Old English, “þanne” denoted both temporal and comparative relationships.
  • Comparative Connotations: Over time, the term “than” became primarily associated with comparative relationships, indicating a comparison between two entities or states. It serves to express a difference in degree, quantity, quality, or manner between the entities being compared.
  • Usage in Comparisons: “Than” is commonly used to introduce the second element of a comparison, often following a comparative adjective or adverb. It facilitates the expression of inequalities or distinctions between different objects, actions, or conditions.
  • Contemporary Usage: In modern English, “than” remains a fundamental word used in comparisons across various contexts. It is an essential component of comparative structures, enabling speakers and writers to articulate differences and preferences with clarity and precision.

From its origins in Old English to its contemporary usage, the term than embodies the enduring concept of comparison, enriching language with its role in expressing differences in quantity, quality, or degree between entities or states.


  • Rather than
  • In preference to
  • In contrast to
  • As opposed to
  • In comparison to
  • In lieu of
  • Instead of
  • In contrast with


  • And
  • Along with
  • With
  • Together with
  • Alongside
  • Including
  • Plus
  • Accompanied by


  • Comparison
  • Preference
  • Choice
  • Option
  • Selection
  • Alternative
  • Decision
  • Judgment

🌐 🇬🇧 THAN in other languages

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