Is Than A Conjunction? 5 Facts(When, Why & Examples)


The word than can be used in two types of parts of speech of English language. Now, we will see uses of “than” as a conjunction.

The word “than” belongs to the “Subordinate Conjunction” group of English parts of speech though most of the time the subordinate clause becomes shorten to one word.

Let us see facts and explanations related to “Than as a Conjunction.”

When is “than” a conjunction?

The placement of “than” in a sentence as “conjunction” is different from the placement of “than” as “preposition”. Now we will see the placement of “than” as a conjunction.

The word “than” can be considered a “conjunction” in two types of situations. Let us check those three situations where we can use “than” as a conjunction.

SituationExampleExplanation
1. The word “than” can be marked as “conjunction” when it connects a subordinate clause/phrase with the main clause.You have suffered more than Sandip in order to gain the permanent job.The word “than” can certainly be marked as “conjunction’ because it connects the subordinate clause “Sandip in order to gain a permanent job” with the main clause “You have suffered.”
2. The word “than” can be marked as “conjunction” when it is “in charge of” any “unexpressed or hidden verb.”Pijush takes care of his mother more than Rajiv.The word “than” can certainly be marked as “conjunction’ because it is controlling the hidden verb “does”, which should have been placed after the second proper noun of the sentence “Rajiv”.
Two situations where “than” is in use as “conjunction”

Why is “than” a subordinating conjunction?

We must not confuse the conjunction “than” as a coordinating conjunction. Let us check the reasons behind calling “than” subordinate conjunction.

For three reasons, we can label the conjunction “than” as a “subordinate conjunction.”

ReasonExampleExplanation
1. The conjunction “than” joins a subordinate clause with the main clause.I can do more beautiful paintings than Mina can do with the help of only pencils.The subordinate conjunction “than” connects the subordinate clause “Mina can do with the help of only pencils” with the main clause “Mina can do with the help of only pencils.”
2. The subordinate clause, which is usually joined by “than” with the main clause, can independently stand as a “simple sentence”.The white cow can grab more hay than the black cow can eat at one time.The word “than” can be marked as a subordinate conjunction because the subordinate clause “The white cow can grab more hay than the black cow can eat at one time” can stand alone.
3. Coordinating conjunctions just conjoin the sentences. They add no meaning to the sentence, but subordinate conjunctions do. The word “than” usually means “in comparison to”, “further”, “additional”, etc.Mina can cook more delicious food than her best friend Rina can do without the help of her mother.The conjunction “than” can be marked as a “subordinate conjunction” because it is in use to add the meaning “in comparison to” to the sentence.
Three situations where “than” acts as subordinate conjunction

Examples of “than” as subordinating conjunctions –

Now, we are going to go through sentences where “than” is in use as “subordinate conjunctions”.

ExampleExplanation
1. My daughter is more disciplined than her father in terms of organization.The word “than” is used as a “subordinate conjunction” as it adds the meaning “in comparison” by connecting the subordinate clause “her father in terms of organization” to the main clause.
2. I am more reasonable than my mother in the matter of argument.The word “than” is used as a “subordinate conjunction” as it adds the meaning “in comparison” by connecting the subordinate clause “my mother in the matter of argument” to the main clause.
3. The distribution of food by Rajiv is far better than the distribution of food by Sandip.The word “than” is used as a “subordinate conjunction” as it adds the meaning “in comparison” by connecting the subordinate clause “my mother in the matter of argument” to the main clause.
4. I have to be calmer than my family to make them quiet in exciting situations.The word “than” is used as a “subordinate conjunction” as it adds the meaning “in comparison” by connecting the subordinate clause “my mother in the matter of argument” to the main clause.
5. The book I am reading is more interesting than the one Mina is reading.The word “than” is used as a “subordinate conjunction” as it adds the meaning “in comparison” by connecting the subordinate clause “my mother in the matter of argument” to the main clause.
Examples of “than” as subordinating conjunctions

When is “than” not considered as conjunction?

The word “than” cannot be considered a conjunction when it is in use as a preposition instead of connecting two clauses. Let us check the use of “than” as a “preposition”.

“Than” can be considered as a “preposition” in below listed situations.

SituationExampleExplanation
1. If the word “than” is not connecting any two clauses in one sentence then it can be marked as “preposition”I can run at a good pace for more than 1 hour.The word “than” can certainly be considered a “preposition” because it is not used to connect any two clauses or phrases in this example.
2. If the word “than” shows the meaning “more”/ “further”/ “additional etc. in a sentence then also the word “than” can be considered as “preposition”.I have more than 10 pens.  The word “than” can certainly be considered a “preposition” in this example because it is in use not to show “comparison” but to mark the meaning “additional”.  
Two situations where “than” is not in use as “conjunction”

Examples of “than” not considered as conjunctions-

Let us look at examples and explanation of the word “than” as preposition.

ExampleExplanation
1. At her sister’s wedding ceremony, Mina ate more than five chocolate ice-creams.The word “than” can certainly be marked as a “preposition” because it is used to show the meaning “more than a specific number” instead of connecting two clauses or phrases.
2. I am going to stay in that hotel for more than 24 hours.The word “than” can certainly be marked as a “preposition” because it is used to show the meaning “more than a specific hour” instead of connecting two clauses or phrases.
3. Sandip slept for more than ten hours on his holidays.The word “than” can certainly be marked as a “preposition” because it is used to show the meaning “more than a specific hour” instead of connecting two clauses or phrases.
4. Sandip prefers green tea more than coffee.The word “than” can certainly be marked as a “preposition” because it is used to show the meaning “preference” instead of connecting two clauses or phrases.
5. Puja is singing for more than one hour.The word “than” can certainly be marked as a “preposition” because it is used to show the meaning “additional hour” instead of connecting two clauses or phrases.
Examples of “than” not considered as conjunctions

Conclusion –

We must make a note of the fact that the word “than” is mainly placed after some specific types of parts of speech, “comparative adjective” and “comparative adverb”.

Arpita Bose Roy

Hey! I am Arpita Bose Roy. My qualifications are M.A. in English with  B. Ed. in both general education and special education. I have 2 years of experience as a "language analyst" at IIT Kharagpur and 4 years of experience as an "Academic Content Developer" at IIT Kharagpur. Currently, I am working as an academic writer at Lambdageeks. Let's connect through LinkedIn-https://www.linkedin.com/mwlite/in/arpita-bose-roy-0aa32553

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