I see this mistake more often than (not “then”) I care to admit. This time, though, I’m not the one who caught it. That credit goes to “Mr. Rewrite,” aka Steve Elliot. I’ll be adding a link to his blog on our Blogroll after I post this.
“Then” indicates a time-relationship. “I did this. Then, I did that.” “Push the red button and then evacuate the premises.”
“Than” indicates the second item in a comparison, or a contrast. “I’d rather fight than switch” was a well-known Taryton cigarette slogan, back when that kind of thing was still allowed on television (which is why I still remember it–the advertisements were stupid, even to my grade-school sensibilities).
Here, then, from offthebench.nbcsports.com via Mr. Rewrite, is one of the most unfortunate instances of then/than confusion I’ve seen in a long time. The shirt in question is bad enough for other reasons, but top those off with poor grammar and . . . well. ::sigh::