The term “my bad” grated on my every nerve when I first head it. According to the very authoritative Urban Dictionary it was coined by an African basketball player who spoke very poor English, when he missed a shot and tried to apologise. Out of his mouth came “My bad”. And thanks to the commentators at the time who made a joke of it, it is now ingrained into pop culture.
Now something else is grating on my nerves. Using “Then” instead of “Than”. Once could be forgiveable, almost, but I’m coming across this more and more. First I’d see it in someone’s post where you can virtually discard it as a product of today’s typical status-writing slackness. Then it would appear in a meme where someone uses Photoshop’s text feature to create a pretty graphic of a nice funny quote or something. I would have thought people would go to more effort to make these grammatically correct. Apparently not. Expecting too much, maybe?
The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I decided to research solar panels
so I could find the best one to smack across the head of anyone misusing the English language to help counteract the 42% rise in my recent energy bill, but that’s a story for another post. I found on one page at the website of one particular solar panel supplier exactly 6 uses of “then” that should have been “than”. Here they are:
If the green generation line is higher at any point then the red consumption line, you are generating a surplus of power, and hence feeding that electricity back into the grid.
Although both the average consumption and generation curves for a given individual home will be slightly different then depicted in this graph, this is more or less a representative example.
But because it is often producing more at any given time then the household can consume the 3kW system exports a total of 6.02kWh of energy to the grid.
In winter, the expected solar PV average generation curve is slightly lower then in summer, reflecting the lower intensity of the sun. Note that on a cloudy day generation will be much lower then depicted.
But because it is often producing more at any given time then the household can consume the 3kW system exports a total of 4.02kWh of energy to the grid.
I could also comment about the missing commas but I won’t – this time. To be fair I should list all the correct uses of “then” and “than”:
The rest of the time, the average household uses more than the solar PV cells can produce.
…rates for exported solar power that are lower than retail electricity rates…
Sorry, not all, I meant both. 6 incorrect, 2 correct. Not a good ratio.
For reference reasons and not for promotion, here is the page in question (which contained the above errors on 27 Jan, 2013, 1100 UTC) http://www.solarchoice.net.au/blog/home-energy-consumption-versus-solar-pv-generation/
Short of having mandatory job interview questions like “Please use the words, than, then, they’re, their, there, refuse, refuse, re-fuse, four, for, threw, through, taught, taut, talk, torque, pore, pour, effect, affect, accept, except, isle, aisle, aloud, allowed, pole, poll, alter, altar, curb, kerb, bare, bear, cereal, serial, practice, practise, compliment, complement, stationary, stationery, council, counsel, draft, draught, lose, loose, assent, ascent, principal, principle, story and storey in a sentence”, I don’t know what we can do.
A recent rant by BrainSnorts about his language peeves, included suggestion for remembering how to use them.
Use Then when it’s related to Time
Use Than when Comparing
Also, maybe teachers should use bigger hammers.