How to Use ‘Then’ at the End of a Sentence

‘Then’ is often used in British English at the end of a sentence.

Are you going then? – Imagine your friend is at your house and although they haven’t been there long, they get up to leave. To use a question with ‘then’ at the end shows surprise. You’re surprised that your friend wants to leave because they have not been with you very long. We could just say, ‘Are you going?’ However, using ‘then’ at the end gives it more emphasis.

Are you going then? – Imagine this same phrase said with a judging tone of voice. If you think someone is behaving in a way that is wrong, you can put ‘then’ at the end of your sentence. You are letting the person know that you don’t support their action or you see an inconsistency in their behaviour.

What are you waiting for then! – When you want to show that you want something to happen immediately and quickly you say ‘then’ at the end of the sentence.

Come on then! – This means be quick and hurry up. You have been waiting a long time for your friend so you say, ‘Come on then!’

Go on then… – This means get started and do something. Imagine you are a teacher and you gave your students some instructions to do some work but they are just sitting there, and haven’t started this work. You can say to them, ‘Go on then!’

Well, you’re lucky then! – This use of then shows you have a contrasting opinion. Imagine that you parked your car in a place where you would usually get a parking ticket for parking in that place. You tell your friend it was no problem for your to park there. Your friend thinks it is a bad idea to park there and says to you, ‘You’re lucky then.’ It means that you were lucky this time, but you wouldn’t be lucky if you did this again in the future.