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Then

Then

 

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Then

 

 

Hello! In this lesson we will learn to use the word "then". The word "then" is usually used as an adverb, but at times it can be used as an adjective and noun. In this lesson, we will concentrate on its usage as an adverb.

The adverb "then" sometimes means: at a previous time or at a specific time. When it is used that way, we might say "We were young then.".

The adverb "then" is often used to mean next in order, in time. When it is used that way, we might say "We will have breakfast. Then we will go to work.".

The adverb "then" is sometimes used to mean next in order, in location. When it is used with that meaning, we might say "Do you see the cars? The first car is Mrs. Smith's car; then my car; then Mr. Smith's car."

Another meaning for the adverb "then" which we have seen in previous lessons means: as a consequence, or in that case. For example, we might say "If Jennifer and David had two cars, then Jennifer would not drive David to work.". Or let us imagine that David must work late at the office, but Jennifer is at home. She might call him on the phone and learn that he will be very late. She might say "Then I am going to eat supper." . She means: In that case, I am going to eat supper. She might also say "So I am going to eat supper.".

Now that we have an idea of how the adverb "then" is used, let us listen to the dialog. In this dialog,  David and Jennifer are planning what to do on Saturday.

Jennifer:  Tomorrow is Saturday. What are we going to do?

David:  First we are going to eat breakfast. Then we are taking your computer to the repair shop.

Jennifer:  Oh, my computer worked last night.

David:  Yes, it worked then, but will it work tomorrow and the day after tomorrow?

Jennifer:  It might not work then.

David: Then we should take it to the repair shop.

Jennifer: Okay then.

Jennifer starts the conversation by asking "What are we going to do tomorrow?".

David answers "First we are going to eat breakfast. Then we are taking your computer to the repair shop.". We notice that David uses the adverb "then". In this case, the meaning of the word is: next in order in time. David might have said "After we eat breakfast, we will take your computer to the repair shop.".

Jennifer says "Oh, my computer worked last night." to which David responds "It worked then, but will it work tomorrow and the day after tomorrow?". We notice that David uses the adverb "then. In this case, it means: at a previous time. David could have said "It worked last night, but will it work tomorrow or the day after tomorrow?".

Jennifer answers "It might not work then.".In this case, Jennifer uses the adverb "then" to mean at a specific time. Since David and Jennifer have already mentioned "tomorrow and the day after tomorrow", both David and Jennifer know that the adverb "then" refers to "tomorrow and the day after tomorrow".

David says "Then we should take it to the repair shop.". In this case, David uses the adverb "then" to mean "as a consequence. He might also have said "So we should take it to the repair shop." or "because the computer does not work, we should take it to the repair shop.".   

Jennifer answers "Okay then." In this case, Jennifer uses the adverb "then" to mean: in that case.

So we can see that the adverb "then" has many usages which help to order and add nuance to our language.

Now that you have learned how to use the adverb "then", let us listen to the dialog once more. Listen for the varied uses of the adverb "then".

Jennifer:  Tomorrow is Saturday. What are we going to do?

David:  First we are going to eat breakfast. Then we are taking your computer to the repair shop.

Jennifer:  Oh, my computer worked last night.

David:  Yes, it worked then, but will it work tomorrow and the day after tomorrow?

Jennifer:  It might not work then.

David: Then we should take it to the repair shop.

Jennifer: Okay then.

Great! Now you are able to use the adverb "then" in many of its common usages. Incorporate this important adverb into your English conversations. "First sit down with your friends. Then speak English with them.".