After I said good-bye, then I went by the store to buy a sweater that is better than the one I already have.

This is another post concerning commonly misused words that, with a little thought and effort, could easily be used properly, thus conveying your ideas accurately, avoiding the embarrassment of being perceived as an uneducated rube, and beautifying and preserving our collective written environment.  The words for this post are: bye, buy, by, then and than.

First, there’s ‘bye.’  This word usually appears in a pair of words, as in ‘bye-bye’ or ‘good-bye’ to express farewell.

Next, there’s ‘buy.’  ‘Buy’ means to make a purchase, as in, “You went to the store to ‘buy’ a sweater.”  You did not ‘bye’ that sweater, and you certainly did not ‘by’ that sweater.  What you did was purchase (buy) that fuzzy ol’ thing!

The word ‘by’ is a bit trickier and I will link you to this dictionary definition, from which I will pull a couple of examples:

standing ‘by’ the window  (standing ‘bye’ the window, or standing ‘buy’ the window doesn’t make sense, right?)

enter ‘by’ the door

enter ‘by’ force

and so on.  You get the idea.

Now, let’s talk about using ‘then‘ when you really mean ‘than.’

Better yet, have a look at the dictionary definitions I have linked to for an explanation.  There is a difference between ‘then’ and ‘than.’  I know it’s just one letter, but as I have explained in some of my other posts, one letter can and does make a world of difference.

I hope this helps.  Please use bye, buy, by, then, and than properly and make the world a better place, one message at a time!

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