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THAN or THEN…compare or join? Most like WALES…and its DRAGON

Some words are satisfied spending an evening at home, alone, eating ice-cream right out of the box, watching Seinfeld re-runs on TV, or reading a good book. Others aren’t happy unless they’re out on the town, mixing it up with other words; they’re joiners and they just can’t help themselves. A conjunction is a joiner, a word that connects (conjoins) parts of a sentence.

Out of all the conjunctions of the English language I’ve chosen two that are often confused and used wrongly because they are so much alike; kind of like twinsJ.

The Case of Then and Than

In some parts of the United States, we are told, then and than not only look alike, they sound alike. Like a teacher with twins in her classroom, you need to be able to distinguish between these two words; otherwise, they’ll become mischievous. They are often used and they should be used for the right purposes.

Than is used to make comparisons. In the sentence „Piggy would rather be rescued then stay on the island,” we have employed the wrong word because a comparison is being made between Piggy’s two choices; we need than instead. In the sentence, „Other than Pincher Martin, Golding did not write another popular novel,” the adverbial construction „other than” helps us make an implied comparison; this usage is perfectly acceptable in the United States but careful writers in the UK try to avoid it.

Generally, the only question about than arises when we have to decide whether the word is being used as a conjunction or as a preposition. If it’s a preposition, then the word that follows it should be in the object form.

  • He’s taller and somewhat more handsome than me.
  • Just because you look like him doesn’t mean you can play better than him.

In formal, academic text, you should probably use than as a conjunction and follow it with the subject form of a pronoun (where a pronoun is appropriate).

Then is a conjunction, but it is not one of the little conjunctions, not a coordinating one. Too many students think that then works the same way:

„Caesar invaded Gaul, then he turned his attention to England.”

You can tell the difference between then and a coordinating conjunction by trying to move the word around in the sentence. We can write „he then turned his attention to England; „he turned his attention, then, to England„; he turned his attention to England then.” The word can move around within the clause.

Try that with a conjunction, and you will quickly see that the conjunction cannot move around.

„Caesar invaded Gaul, and then he turned his attention to England.” The word and is stuck exactly there and cannot move like then, which is more like an adverbial conjunction than a coordinating conjunction. Our original sentence in this paragraph — „Caesar invaded Gaul, then he turned his attention to England — is a comma splice, a faulty sentence construction in which a comma tries to hold together two independent clauses all by itself: the comma needs a coordinating conjunction to help out, and the word then simply doesn’t work that way.

In conclusion than helps to make comparisons, while then is a conjunction acting as an adverb. They may be twins but they are not the same!

The same happens to ENGLAND and WALES. Many people think of them as a single country, forgetting that Wales has its own history and traditions. I think Wales is the least known country of the U. K., the least explored and, thus, the most mysterious.

That is why I decided to cast some light upon 2 things – symbols of Wales.

The dragon has long been a symbol of Wales. It features (in its proper red colour) on the national flag and is often to be found marking goods of Welsh origin. How did this exotic oriental beast find its way to Wales? The dragon was perhaps first seen in Wales in Roman times.  It is possible that the dragon had been seen in  the West much earlier than this, as a result of Alexander the Great’s epic journey which commenced it 334 B.C.

The future King Henry VII carried the dragon banner at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. This battle signalled the end of the War of the Roses between Lancastrian and Yorkist factions and led to unification. Henry later decided that the red dragon should figure on the official  flag of Wales. |

Diana, Princess of Wales – although she was English she remained a symbol of Wales because of her royal title – Princess of Wales and also Princess of hearts.

And, at last, the funny Welsh accent. Enjoy! 😀


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  1. shoot nice info bro.

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