Is it "play better than" or "play better then" as response to "we can't lose this"? Now I am writing stuff to meet the quality standards of posts.

  • 1
    Is anyone going to answer this than? I think it shows no evidence of prior research. Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 14:25
  • I thought "then" would only be used in context with time. So is your "than" correct or was it a joke?
    – sotix
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 14:52
  • It was a joke. I'm sorry if it was a bit dismissive / demeaning. The usage difference is that you play better than someone who can't play as well as you. But if there's someone else who can play better than you, then he will probably beat you. Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 14:59
  • Welcome to ELL, sotix. We expect people to do a little research before asking questions. In this case, you could look up then in a good dictionary, for example dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/then. Take a look at the final section then (adverb) RESULT and see whether it answers your question. If not, add the details of your research to your question (and provide links if possible) and explain what you don't understand. Merry Christmas!
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 15:18
  • sorry all and thanks for the help. I will do better research next time :)
    – sotix
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 16:20

2 Answers 2


You would use "Play better, then" in this case. You're implying the rest of the sentence - in full it would be "If we can't lose this, then [you should] play better".

"Play better than" would not make sense in this context.

  • ok thanks. i thought "then" would only be used in context with time and was confused because someone suggested otherwise
    – sotix
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 14:51
  • Yes, then is generally used in context with time, but it can also be used to define a condition. Look up If...Then... logic.
    – Werrf
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 15:53

As a standalone answer "play better then" is the right option.

You use "than" when you compare between different things. That means when using "than", you have to name the other object. So in your case it might be

We can't lose this! - Play better than our opponent!

or even using both "then" and "than":

We can't lose this! - Then play better than our opponent!

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