Confusing words that sound alike is not uncommon in English. A good example for that would be the misuse of the word pair then/than.
They sound similar, they differ only by one letter, but they are used completely different.
Let us have a look:
The word "then" indicates a time (in the past, present or future), a time marker or a sequence of events.
- First brush your teeth then go to bed. (sequence of instructions)
- Back then I did not have the wisdom.
- Let us meet there and then. (time and place)
- He listened then he spoke. (sequence of events)
Tip: If you replace the word "then" with the word "next" the sentence should still make sense.
"Than" is used in comparative sentences or statements.
When you are doing a comparison (could be size, price, number, etc.) you should use the word "than".
- Five is bigger than three.
- I am taller than you.
- He is earning less than his brother.
Tip: If you replace the word "than" with the phrase "compared to" the sentence should still make sense.