Which vs Than - What's the difference?

which | than |

As a determiner which

is what, of those mentioned or implied (used interrogatively ).

As a pronoun which

is (lb) who; whom; what (of those mentioned or implied).

As a noun which

is an occurrence of the word which .

As a proper noun than is

the ninth earthly branch represented by the.



(wikipedia which)

Alternative forms

* whiche (obsolete) * wich (Jamaican English)


(en determiner)
  • What, of those mentioned or implied (used interrogatively ).
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-08-17, volume=408, issue=8849, magazine=(The Economist), author=Schumpeter
  • , title= In praise of laziness , passage=Which of these banes of modern business life is worse remains open to debate. But what is clear is that office workers are on a treadmill of pointless activity. Managers allow meetings to drag on for hours. Workers generate e-mails because it requires little effort and no thought. An entire management industry exists to spin the treadmill ever faster.}}
  • (interrogative) What one or ones (of those mentioned or implied).
  • (relative) The one or ones that.
  • (relative) The one or ones mentioned.
  • * {{quote-magazine, year=2013, month=May-June, author= Katrina G. Claw
  • , title= Rapid Evolution in Eggs and Sperm , volume=101, issue=3, magazine=(American Scientist) , passage=Many genes with reproductive roles also have antibacterial and immune functions, which indicate that the threat of microbial attack on the sperm or egg may be a major influence on rapid evolution during reproduction.}}
  • Used of people (now generally (who), (whom) or (that)).
  • * 1526 , (William Tyndale), trans. Bible , Acts IX:
  • The men which acompanyed him on his waye stode amased, for they herde a voyce, butt sawe no man.


    (English Pronouns)
  • (lb) Who; whom; what (of those mentioned or implied).
  • :
  • *
  • , title=(The Celebrity), chapter=2 , passage=Sunning himself on the board steps, I saw for the first time Mr. Farquhar Fenelon Cooke.
  • *
  • *:There was a neat hat-and-umbrella stand, and the stranger's weary feet fell soft on a good, serviceable dark-red drugget, which matched in colour the flock-paper on the walls.
  • *{{quote-magazine, date=2013-07-20, volume=408, issue=8845, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= Welcome to the plastisphere , passage=Plastics are energy-rich substances, which is why many of them burn so readily. Any organism that could unlock and use that energy would do well in the Anthropocene. Terrestrial bacteria and fungi which can manage this trick are already familiar to experts in the field.}}

    Usage notes

    * (US usage'') Some authorities insist, prescriptively, that relative ''which'' should be used only in non-restrictive contexts. For restrictive contexts (e.g., ''The song that made the charts in 2004 is better than the later ones''), they prefer ''that''. Actual usage does not support this "rule". Fowler, who proposed the rule, himself acknowledged that it was "not the practice of most or of the best writers". Even E.B. White, a notorious "which-hunter", wrote this: "the premature expiration of a pig is, I soon discovered, a departure which the community marks solemnly on its calendar." In modern UK usage, ''The song which made the charts in 2004 is better than the later ones is generally accepted without question. * When "which" (or the other relative pronouns "who" and "that") is used as the subject of a relative clause, the verb agrees with the antecedent of the pronoun. Thus "The thing which is...", "The things which are...", etc.


    * 1611 — 1:1 *: Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us...

    Derived terms

    * every which way * every which where * whichever * whichness * whichsoever


  • An occurrence of the word which .
  • * 1959 , William Van O'Connor, Modern prose, form and style (page 251)
  • The ofs and the whiches have thrown our prose into a hundred-years' sleep.
  • * 1989 , Donald Ervin Knuth, Tracy Larrabee, Paul M. Roberts, Mathematical writing (page 90)
  • Is it not true, TLL asked of Mary-Claire, that people invariably get their whiches and thats right when they speak?



    (wikipedia than)


    (English Conjunctions)
  • (obsolete, outside, dialects, usually used with for) Because; for.
  • * 1854 , Reformation series:
  • If thou say yes, then puttest thou on Christ (that is, the wisdome of God, the Father) unkunning, unpower, or euil will: for than he could not make his rule so good as an other did his.
  • * 1668 , William Lawson, A way to get wealth :
  • You shall also take the fine earth or mould which is found in the hollow of old Willow trees, rising from the root almost to the middle of the Tree, at least so far as the tree is hollow, for than this, there is no earth or mould finer or richer.
  • * 1665 , Stillingfleet, Laud, Carwell, A rational account of the grounds of Protestant religion :
  • Answer me if you can, any other way, than because the Scriptures, which are infallible, Say so.
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-07-20, volume=408, issue=8845, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= Old soldiers? , passage=Whether modern, industrial man is less or more warlike than' his hunter-gatherer ancestors is impossible to determine. The machine gun is so much more lethal ' than the bow and arrow that comparisons are meaningless.}}


    (English prepositions)
  • introduces a comparison, and is associated with comparatives, and with words such as more'', ''less'', and ''fewer . Typically, it seeks to measure the force of an adjective or similar description between two predicates.
  • Patients diagnosed more recently are probably surviving an average of longer than two years.

    Usage notes

    , who wrote ''No man had ever more discernment than him, in finding out the ridiculous.''). ''Than functions as both conjunction and preposition; when it is used as a conjunction, it governs the nominative case, and when a preposition, the oblique case. To determine the case of a pronoun following "than", a writer can look to implied words and determine how they would relate to the pronoun. Examples : * You are a better swimmer than she. ** represents You are a better swimmer than she is. ** therefore You are a better swimmer than her is a solecism. * They like you more than her. ** represents They like you more than they like her. ** therefore They like you more than she'' is a solecism, if it attempts to represent the previous sentence. It may be correct, however, if it represents ''They like you more than she likes you. Some prescriptionists insist that whom'' must follow ''than'' (not ''who''); although according to the above rule, ''who would be the "correct" form. Critics of this often cite this mandatory exception as evidence that the prescriptionist rule is logically erroneous, in addition to it being inconsistent with well-established usage.


  • (now, chiefly, dialectal) At that time; then.
  • Statistics