‘Later Than' or 'Later Then': What's the Difference Between the Two?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on January 18, 2023

Wondering what the difference is between ‘later than’ and ‘later then’? We’ll cover that in detail in this article, plus you’ll learn how to use both correctly in a sentence.

In short, ‘later than’ is the only acceptable way to use this phrase. You can use ‘later’ and ‘then’ separately, but they’re not typically used together.

No ‘Later Than’ or ‘Then’  

We just learned that ‘later than’ is the more common and correct phrase. ‘Later then’ isn’t a correct phrase.

As mentioned above, the words can be used separately but generally aren’t grouped together the way ‘later’ and ‘than’ are.

Let’s dive into the meaning of ‘than’ and ‘then’ so we can better understand why.

‘Then’ vs. ‘Than’ – What’s the Difference? 

The words ‘then’ and ‘than’ are homophones. They sound alike but mean different things.

That explains why ‘later than’ makes sense, but ‘later then’ doesn’t.

This happens because ‘than’ is used to compare one thing with another. And ‘then’ is used as an expression of time.

Therefore, you can say, “Laura was later than Tim.” But you can’t say, “Laura was later then Tim.”

You can say, “Laura arrived at 5 pm. Then, Tim arrived five minutes later.”

We’ll look at sentence examples, but first, let’s define the words/phrases.

Definition and Meaning of ‘Later Than’

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of ‘later than’ is after a specified time.

For example, if you were trying to express that you arrived someplace after someone else or after a certain time, you’d use the phrase ‘later than.’


  • I got there later than 5 pm.
  • I got there later than everyone else.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce ‘Later Than’ and ‘Later Then’

Wondering how to pronounce these phrases? Here’s a short guide.

  • To pronounce ‘later than’ and ‘later then,’ use the phonetic spelling: LAY-TUH THAn

They both sound the same, so they have the same pronunciation.

How to Use ‘Later Than’ in a Sentence

Now that you know what the phrase means and how to pronounce it let’s see how to use it in a sentence.

  • I was later than every other student to class on Wednesday.
  • I don’t want to be later than everyone else at the office. I have to be on time.
  • James got to go to the library later than Missy. She was the most well-behaved student of the week, so she went early.
  • The bi-weekly newsletter went out later than usual. There were more edits to make this week.
  • We planned to honor my grandmother later than usual this year because of the weather.
  • I took the ground beef out of the refrigerator later than I meant to. I got so caught up in studying.

Concluding Thoughts on ‘Later Than’ and ‘Later Then’

To recap, you learned that the only correct phrase of the two is ‘later than.’ That’s because ‘then’ refers to time. Therefore, it wouldn’t make sense to use ‘later then’ in any context – not the way it’s written.

If you ever get stuck on this, don’t be afraid to pop back over for a quick refresher. We’ve also got a ton of other content on other confusing words and phrases you might come across while you’re learning the language. Don’t be afraid to go check it out whenever you need to.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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