I often mix up these words when I writing some short text quickly.
- than and then
- their and there
- this and these
I also have some hesitation about usage of 'than' and 'then'.
Is there a way that do not confuse these words?
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I've upvoted user178049's comment about just memorizing them, but here are some mnemonics to get you started:
thEn = nExt
If you don't mean "next," then don't write "then" (generally).
"THERE" is "NoT HERE."
If you mean "noT HERE," then write "there."
Also watch out for the contraction of "they are," "they're," which many native speakers will confuse as well since all three are pretty much homophones.
ONE "i" in "thIs," TWO "e"'s in "thEsE."
"This" is for singular nouns (ONE) and "these" is for plural nouns (TWO).
For many native speakers, "then v. than" and "there v. their" give many people trouble as well when writing because their spelling and pronunciation are so similar.
But for "this v. these," you should really get the two straight as soon as possible as they are pronounced differently.
What I mean is, if you continue having trouble, it may be your pronunciation.
"This" sounds like "kiss" and "these" sounds like "bees."
Good luck and hope this helps!
Use than for comparison.
(It might help to pronounce it as "comparisan".)
I am taller than you.
There is a hare in their chair [over there].
The first "there" is used to show existence. Their shows possession. You can include "over there". "Over there" is often used to say that something is in the distance (location, not here).
1 This goose is mine. -BUT-
2 These geese are ours.
Use this for the singular case, like goose and mine (I, one person). Use these for the plural case, like geese and ours (we, more than one person).
I think the other answers are correct, but it's easier for me to just remember:
THEN is for time or order. Do this, then that.
THAN is comparison. I'd rather do this than that.
THEIR is possessive. Their house is nice.
THERE is location. The house over there is nice.
THIS is singular. This chair is heavy.
THESE is plural. These chairs are heavy.