Different than vs. different from vs. different to

Spira

Banned
UK English
That was my point. But differs to (and for me) different to do not work.
I agree. Neither works with to. Sorry, my confusion.
To say for the millionth time, I have heard DIFFERENT TO my whole life. It was actually quoted by my schoolteachers as one of the most common grammatical mistakes made in England.
It was said by the same social group that would say "I ain't got no money" (or satisfaction!)
 
  • Zordkhan

    Member
    English - UK
    I happy to accept either to or from in simple comparisons:

    Television is different from film in that (...).

    I would have said never to use "different than" but I have just caught myself writing it!

    The Hungarian text ... prompts one to a different declamation than the Slovak text.

    Perhaps I could improve it thus:

    The Hungarian text ... prompts one to a different declamation than does the Slovak text.

    This text is really difficult already and my head is spinning from it. Is what I have written acceptable? (at... Oxford University, say?)
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Zordkhan, you've not committed any mistake there. You'd have said "The Hungarian text ... is different from the Slovak text", wouldn't you? But the sentence with the verbal phrase "prompts one to..." is an entirely different construction, so don't feel bad about using "than" in that case.

    But with straight nouns the matter is simple:
    Close to home, far from home.
    Similar to chalk, different from cheese.

    Why does anybody on earth think it should be otherwise? If they're going to be arbitrary, they might as well throw in at or over. They can get it wrong if they like, so long as they don't try to persuade me of it.
     

    Arrius

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    The only English I hear as an expatriate is on the radio (which I still call the wireless to date me), and I cannot remember the last time I heard different from instead of different to whatever the educational level, social class, or even age of the speaker. But you won't hear it from me. And the same goes for fed up of instead of the traditional fed up with etc. Preposition usage changes with time: centuries have passed since we drank a health unto Her Majesty or believed on the Lord thy God. There is little we can do about it except to preserve our own way of speaking or writing.
     
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    Geo.

    Senior Member
    UK English (SE England)
    The only English I hear as an expatriate is on the radio (which I still call the wireless to date me), and I cannot remember the last time I heard different from instead of different to whatever the educational level, social class, or even age of the speaker. But you won't hear it from me. And the same goes for fed up of instead of the traditional fed up with etc. Preposition usage changes with time: centuries have passed since we drank a health unto Her Majesty or believed on the Lord Thy God. There is little we can do about it except to preserve our own way of speaking or writing.
    ‘which I still call the wireless’ ... thank you for that! I do as well, and I don’t find it dated, I find it natural, at least at home or — without thinking — when amongst fellow expatriates. (To hear some of the criticism I get from relatives back home — to say nothing of their children — one would think I had said ‘horseless-carriage’ for ‘motorcar’ or called a ‘push-bike’ a ‘penny-farthing’ ... and these are people who speak Estuary, and their children Chav, despite neither having an actual background in it!)

    [...]

    P.S. In North American English, the preposition remains fixed as ‘different from’ ... ( ‘different to’ sounds like a UK broadcast over here. Mind you, I’m not advocating the latter, simply making a comment on how it has become rather common place).​
     
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    amby

    Banned
    chinese
    I have always thought that different should be follwed by from, but when googled it, I found a lot of expressions, saying different than ... Whicn one is correct?

    In that respect, my opinion is different from yours. or
    In that respect, my opinion is different than yours.
     

    sunyaer

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    <<Moderator note: I have appended sunyaer's link and question to the existing one to consolidate the discussions>>

    I found very insightful comments on distinctions among different from, different to and different than by Pherfe at http://grammarist.com/usage/different/

    Pherfe uses two sentences to explain the differences between different from and different to:

    "That is different from this" is used when the idea "that over there compared to this here" is intended, while "this is different to that" for the idea "this here compared to that over there".

    It seems to me that "from" and "to" actually connotes the direction of comparison, is this the correct way to understand the logic behind the use of "from" and "to" here?

    By the way, should "from" or "to" be used in "his wife is different from / to my wife"? (I feel that "to" is preferable here.)
     
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    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    You perhaps will not be able to see it, but Google Ngram electronically scans “millions of books” printed between 1800 and 2000 for examples of words and phrases. It then presents the results as a percentage of all the words.

    In BE
    Different from made up 91% of the results
    Different to made up 6% of the results
    Different than made up 3% of the results

    In AE, the results for different to and different than were reversed.

    The conclusion is, "Say 'different from'."
     

    Loretta S.

    Member
    English
    Different FROM is right. You can use the verbal form and see that "to differ from" is OK but "to differ than" makes no sense!
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    For me, 'different from' is good, 'different than' isn't, and 'different to' is GB. So, and according to its predominance on what PaulQ found on Google Ngram, it seems you're safest going with 'different from'.
     

    Rain_UK

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hope someone will still read this thread though it is quite old.

    They are different from one another
    is correct.
    Could I say They are different to one another?

    Another example
    Wine and beer taste different from each other
    I know it is grammatically correct.

    Wine and beer taste different to each other.
    If you say that in the UK this form is accepted, then why does everyone tell me it is wrong?

    I looked them up on internet and read a lot of answers, each different to one another so I cannot ever find a acceptable answer.
    Could you please help me out?

    Cheers.
     

    Rain_UK

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Yes, I think that using different from is the most logical, neutral and acceptable thing, both in American English and British English.

    But, what about
    Wine and beer taste different to each other.

    Might it be considered both correct and wrong, depending on the speaker's country of provenance and point of view?

    Besides, what about
    I looked them up on internet and read a lot of answers, each different to one another.
    Is such a construction correct?

    Which one is correct?
    - ....each different to one another
    - ....each different from one another
    - ....each different than one another

    I would mostly like to know whether the first version is correct or not.

    Thank you.
     
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    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I use different from and similar to. I am pretty confident in stating that this is almost universal where I live.

    The reverse is almost never heard (different to and similar from) and I would call them incorrect (or at the very least dissonant sounding). To my ears using these options would probably brand someone as speaking English as a second language.
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    If you are using a noun or a word/phrase/clause that functions as a noun, I was taught to use "different from."
    "Italy is different from what I expected." "Italy is different from Germany."

    If "different" is followed by a phrase or clause, I was taught to use "than."
    "Italy is different than I expected it to be.

    This "different to" thing has thrown me for a loop though. I'd never heard of it before.
    So it's correct to say "this flower has a different colour from that flower"? :)
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    The short answer is: Use different from. A lot of people hate different than, and a lot of people find different to rather weird.
    This might be the short answer in England, Ewie, but a lot of people have no problem with "different than" in the U.S. I'm one of them.

    What surprises me in this thread is the impression I get that some of you Englishmen are so annoyed by "different than". That makes no more sense than my getting annoyed because you use "sweets" instead of "candy". Surely English -- a language spoken by hundreds of millions in different parts of the world -- is big enough to allow more than one preposition or conjunction after "different".:rolleyes:
     
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    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I like the construction "differs from", which I think resolves the issue.

    The meaning is the same for the following two sentences.

    This flower has a different colour from that flower.

    This flower differs from that flower in color.

    or

    This flower differs from that one in color.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    This might be the short answer in England, Ewie, but a lot of people have no problem with "different than" in the U.S. I'm one of them.
    It's the short answer everywhere, Mr O (especially where non-native learners are gathered:))

    Different than is considered incorrect and unacceptable by a lot of people in a lot of places.
    So is different to. (I'm a Britishperson who has no particular problem with different to.)
    Different from is correct and acceptable everywhere:)
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Thanks for the answer, Ewie. There's apparently no resolving this because our disagreement will merely degenerate into "authority thumping"*, which never resolves anything in here. I am pleased to note that the WR dictionary offers a fair assessment of the different opinions in its usage commentary for "different".

    *Akin to and just as tedious as Bible thumping.
     
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    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    This might be the short answer in England, Ewie, but a lot of people have no problem with "different than" in the U.S. I'm one of them.

    What surprises me in this thread is the impression I get that some of you Englishmen are so annoyed by "different than". That makes no more sense than my getting annoyed because you use "sweets" instead of "candy". Surely English -- a language spoken by hundreds of millions in different parts of the world -- is big enough to allow more than one preposition after "different".:rolleyes:
    Hi, o-5,

    "candy/sweets" is vocabulary; "different from/than/to" is grammar, or usage.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    You might not believe it, ATF, but I was aware of that before you pointed out the distinction. Once again, WR's dictionary offers a reasonable assessment of the disagreement in a usage comment under its definition for "different". I found it far more helpful than several of the grouchy remarks I've seen in this thread.
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    Sorry, owlman5, of course you do! I didn't mean to step on your talons. I guess (some) Yanks and Brits may just have to agree to...differ? Yes, actually I did check out the WR entry; as my #163 showed, I don't totally agree with it.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    It's on the increase here too, JS, from 0.5% to 3% over the same period:)

    (I copied off JS' Ngram, by the way ... I'm not even sure what these percentages represent ... maybe I'll figure out Ngrams for myself some day possibly:oops:)
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    It's on the increase here too, JS, from 0.5% to 3% over the same period:)

    (I copied off JS' Ngram, by the way ... I'm not even sure what these percentages represent ... maybe I'll figure out Ngrams for myself some day possibly:oops:)
    Don't panic ewie:D It is only revealing the fact that an increasing number of books (e.g., those that use "color" instead of "colour") are wrongly assigned to the BE category for these searches - that coud well be where your observed increase is coming from. (Their rate of increase seems similar.) Google has scanned millions of books etc and analysed them in a variety of ways. We typically use the simple ones - the frequency of occurrence of a word or phrase. These percentages represent the frequency of "different than" as a percentage of the total frequency of "different than + different from" (in algebra terms, if that helps:) %Than = 100x freq Than/(freq Than + freq From)
     
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    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Erm ... we might be talking at cross-purposes here, JS. Rather than doubting the reliability of Ngrams, I meant to say that different than is, as I expected, increasing in frequency in BrE. I've heard it all my life here; I wouldn't call it 'rare', though one hears it less often than different from and different to. But for a few years I've had a sneaking suspicion that, like If I would have done it, it's creeping up the 'social ladder' ... so I'm not surprised that it's increased in frequency in written BrE:)

    The algebra was extremely useful: I've lined the bottom of my budgie's cage with it:cool: (Not reeeely: I don't have a budgie.)
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Edison asked about: "This flower has a different colour from that flower"? :)

    I don't hear English speakers saying that "X has a colour..."

    This flower is a different colour from that one/flower.
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    Edison asked about: "This flower has a different colour from that flower"? :)

    I don't hear English speakers saying that "X has a colour..."

    This flower is a different colour from that one/flower.
    :tick:, but (sad to say) "different than" does seem to be creeping towards acceptability, at least in AE. I'm not surprised that an increasing number of instances of its use have been sighted.
     

    brian&me

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    <Moderator note. Brian&me's thread has been added to an older thread. Nat>

    Hi, everyone.

    The following sentence is from an English textbook for junior high school students in China, co-edited by DC Canada Education Publishing and Heibei Education Press.

    How will your life be different than it is today?

    I think it’s North American English. I wonder if ‘than’ should be ‘from’ in British English.

    Thanks in advance.
     
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    brian&me

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thanks, sound shift and Edinburgher.
    I'd like some native speakers in North America, especially in Canada to tell me if the use of 'different than' in the OP is correct.
     

    atokad

    Senior Member
    English - US
    See the usage note for the word different in the American Heritage Dictionary:
    The American Heritage Dictionary entry: different

    The last sentence of the usage note is relevant to the OP's sentence:

    "There should be no complaint, however, when the object of comparison is expressed by a full clause: The campus is different than it was twenty years ago."

    I was somewhat surprised; I thought there might be at least some controversy about its correctness. But the AHD says it's OK, and doesn't even mention any dissenting voices on the usage panel. In any case, this usage is ubiquitous in AE. (But you should read the full usage note. In other cases, a majority of the usage panel rejects different than.)

     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Moderator note. The thread has been merged with some older threads. Please scroll up for comment. Different from is standard; different than occurs in North America, and different to occurs in the UK and many consider them non-standard.
     
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