The difference between the phrases “from then on” and “since then” is subtle, but it’s good to learn about. This article will look at what the subtleties are and how you can use them correctly the next time you write them.
Table of Contents
What Is The Difference Between “From Then On” And “Since Then”?
You should use “from then on” for past events that are no longer happening today (i.e., “from then on, they stopped talking”). You should use “since then” to talk about an event that started in the past and continues in the future (i.e., “since then, they have lived alone”).
The key difference is tense. We can look at using “from then on” in the simple past tense since a simple past verb (like “talking”) is used after it. It means that something has happened previously, though the implication is that it’s stopped today.
“Since” then is the present perfect tense, which uses the auxiliary verb “have” along with another verb (like “have lived”) to talk about something that started happening in the past and is still relevant today.
Is “From Then On” Or “Since Then” Used The Most?
It might help you to learn which of the two phases is used more. That way, you can work on understanding which one most native speakers are more comfortable using.
According to this graph, “since then” is by far the more popular choice compared to “from then on.” That’s because many people prefer how easy it is to use, and it tends to streamline the sentence in a much better way.
“From then on” is jarring to most readers, which makes it hard to use properly.
Also, it might make more sense to talk about a past event with “since then” that’s still relevant today (using the present perfect tense) rather than something that happened “from then on” but isn’t happening now.
Examples Of How To Use “From Then On” In A Sentence
We’ll go over some examples of using both phrases so you can see what we mean about the key differences.
“From then on” uses the simple past tense to explain a situation. It means something happened in the past and implies that the same thing is no longer happening today.
- From then on, they worked hard to get the project finished.
- From then on, he made it his mission to find his true love.
- From then on, you stopped caring about me.
- From then on, she knew what she had to do to find it.
- From then on, we stopped the events from transpiring.
- From then on, I needed you more than ever.
- From then on, you left and never came back.
We use the simple past tense after “from then on,” meaning we stick to simple past tense verb forms (like “worked” or “made”). That’s the easiest way to tell the two phrases apart.
Examples Of How To Use “Since Then” In A Sentence
“Since then” uses the present perfect tense to talk about something that started happening in the past and still happens today, thus allowing us to have an impact on it in the present.
- Since then, they have lived a very happy life together.
- Since then, he has made it his mission to find the answer.
- Since then, she has found what she was looking for and treats it with care.
- Since then, I have been made the manager of the firm.
- Since then, we have stopped visiting our father.
- Since then, you have known about things you shouldn’t ever have a reason to.
- Since then, it has stopped being dangerous to go outside.
We use the present perfect tense for “since then,” which means we include the auxiliary verb “has” or “have” (depending on the pronoun we use).
After the auxiliary verb, we include another verb in the past tense to indicate that it happened in the past but is still changing in the present.
“From Then On” And “Since Then” – Synonyms
If you’re struggling with the differences between the two, it might help you to know some synonyms and alternatives that will make them easier to remember. Most native speakers use them interchangeably, so these work well as options:
- After that
- Ever since
- From then onwards
- From that day forward
All of these synonyms talk about a past occurrence that impacted something in the present.
Can I Start A Sentence With “From Then On” And “Since Then”?
Before we decide to use the phrases, it’ll help to know where they belong in the sentence. There are two key places to use them, but we most commonly use them at the start.
We can use “from then on” and “since then” at the start of a sentence (like you’ll see in the previous examples section).
We can also use them at the very end of the sentence, though this structure is much less common. However, both cases are correct and mean the same thing:
- Things have changed since then.
- Since then, things have changed.
- He moved away from then on.
- From then on, he moved away.
Should I Place A Comma After “From Then On” And “Since Then”?
If you start a sentence with “from then on” or “since then,” you should place a comma after them. That’s because they are a standalone clause that adds additional detail to the sentence, though it’s possible to remove them too.
Here’s what we mean:
- He had a falling out with his mother. Since then, he has moved away.
- He had a falling out with his mother. He has moved away.
Both sentences above are correct, though we want to use “since then” to introduce a new idea to the sentence.
Is It “Sense Then” Or “Since Then”?
“Since then” is correct because we’re using “since” to reference something that happened in the past. “Sense” is a word, but it’s incorrect to use in this context.
- Correct: Since then, things have changed.
- Incorrect: Sense then, things have changed.
Is It “Since Then” Or “Since Than”?
“Since then” is correct because we use “then” to reference the time that has passed since the previous event happened. We only use “than” when we want to compare two or more things with each other, which is incorrect in this context.
- Correct: Since then, he has stopped talking to me.
- Incorrect: Since than, he has stopped talking to me.
Should I Use “From Then” Or “From Then On”?
“From then” and “from then on” are interchangeable. Many people prefer using “from then” because it removes the redundant “on” word from the phrase and still means the same thing.
- From then, it was clear what needed to change.
- From then on, it was clear what needed to change.
Both of these sentences are correct, though most native speakers prefer “from then.”
Can “From Then On” And “From Then Onwards” Be Used Interchangeable?
“From then on” and “from then onwards” are interchangeable. Again, most native speakers prefer to streamline their language and keep it short and to the point, making “from then on” the more popular choice of the two.
If you need a visual example, look at this graph. We can use both words, as shown by the usage numbers. However, “from then on” is vastly more popular than “from then onwards” because it uses the simpler word “on” instead of “onwards.”
- From then on, he knew what to do.
- From then onward, she waited for me.
You can use either of these phrases, though “from then on” is generally more used.
What Is The Difference Between “Since Then” And “After That”?
“Since then” uses the present perfect tense to talk about something that still happens today. “After that” uses the simple past tense and is much closer related to “from then on” with the tense that it uses. It refers to something that we can’t change today.
We can look at this graph to see that “after that” is more popular than “since then.” It has also grown exponentially in the last decade or so. “After that” is the best alternative to “from then on” and a suitable competitor for “since then.”
- Since then, he has helped me out.
- After that, she changed.
What Is The Difference Between “Ever Since” And “Since Then”?
“Ever since” comes directly before the clause, meaning no comma is used until after the first clause (which then affects the second one). “Since then” is a clause in itself that changes something about the sentence.
- Since then, I have left her.
- Ever since we have been homeless, times have been rough.
Should I Use “Ever Since Then” Or “Since Then”?
“Since then” is correct because it talks about something that happened in the past and is still happening today. “Ever since then” is grammatically incorrect because it combines the two phrases, which both have different meanings.
You may also like: