Revised as of 17 February 2018
This Word Confusion is a tricky bugger. The different to is pretty simple, and being a British preference, it’s not a confusion American authors are likely to run into. Unless, of course, one of our characters is English. Mmmm, nothing like complicating things up *grin*.
Different from and different than are MUCH more difficult. I spend more time exploring, tasting, trying out different possibilities, ways of looking at this one. And I gotta confess, I generally have this urge to side with different from. I don’t know if the one feels warmer, more comfortable to me or what. Maybe it’s just easier to drift into using this one.
…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.
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|Different From||Different Than||Different To|
|Credit to: Dictionary.com; Apple Dictionary.com; Oxford Dictionaries; GrammarBook.com; Grammar.com; Daily Writing Tips|
|Part of Grammar:||Adjective + Preposition||Adjective + Conjunction||Adjective + Preposition|
|Different is a word of contrast and does not compare.|
|Universally accepted||Comparative adjective + different than + clause||British preference|
|Implies exclusion||Implies comparison|
|Followed by a noun or noun form and/or creates a prepositional phrase
When something differs, it implies another, from which it is distinguished.
Preferred by AP Stylebook and Element of Style
|Can be useful for idioms or beginning clauses||Opposite of similar to|
|These shirts are different from the ones I bought last year.
My birthday this year was different from what it was last year.
A Lotus Esprit is different from a Volkswagen.
Conservatives are different from liberals.
My choice of clothing is different from yours.
This is different from that.
|This experience was different than he thought it would be.
My birthday this year was different than it was last year.
The event turned out different than what I expected.
The college is different than it was when I went to school.
|In this respect the Royal Academy is no different to any other major museum.
A tree looks completely different to cats than it does to dogs.
|History of the Word:|
|First known use: 1590||First known use: 1644||First known use: 1560|
C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?
Pinterest Photo Credits
Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus by John Gray, Ph.D., is published by HarperCollins.