then as a conjunction

xqby

Senior Member
English (U.S.)
Does anyone else join independent clauses with just "then" and a comma? Word swats my wrist and tells me that it should be "and then." I don't think I talk that way though.

I see no problem with:
"We ate hamburgers, then we had a salad."
 
  • xqby, I think you need a semicolon there. Like you, I would probably say the sentence without "and," but, if it were transcribed, it would require more than a comma, I think.

    On the other hand, it seems to me that I've seen this very construction in written BE (although not in AE).
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I think you should tell Word to keep its hands to itself.

    Dictionary.com classifies this use of then as an adverb, then gives the following definition and example:
    3. next in order of time: We ate, then we started home.
    (Interesting, isn't it, that both of you use the same subject for your sample sentence ~ eating, I mean.)
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    And yet, there are other sites on line, such as this one:

    http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/conjunctions.htm

    that describe such usage as a comma splice. Perhaps it would be accurate to say that the use of "then" as a coordinating conjunction is controversial.
    It does, indeed. I guess it's a matter of choosing your authority, then.

    Edit: The OED includes this use of then without and, with examples dating back to about 1000, if I read the English correctly. I am more certain of the citation from 1627:
    1627 HAKEWILL Apol. (1630) 214 He cast high in the aire, then received it againe in his armes.​
     
    Last edited:

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    There is no possible use for having Word's 'grammar' checker turned on. Even as a butt of laughter it palls all too soon.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I think you should tell Word to keep its hands to itself.
    Not quite the verb I would've chosen, XQ (mine rhymes with go duck itself).
    There is no possible use for having Word's 'grammar' checker turned on. Even as a butt of laughter it palls all too soon.
    Absolutely. I might possibly recommend it to someone who's been learning English for, say, three weeks ~ after that you will've outstripped it in its useful knowledge of English.

    You have the greatest computer the world has ever seen (well, one example of it) in your head, XQ. Use that:)
     

    xqby

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    Definitely! I just wanted to see what the other supercomputers on here thought and used.
    Thanks for the responses.
     
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