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  1. anupumh's Avatar
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    #1

    Lightbulb Different from vs Different than

    Hi,

    Which is better to use, "different from" or "different than"?

    James book is different from ours.
    James book is different than ours.

    The school is now very different than what it used to be.
    The school is now very different from what it used to be.

    Thanks


    • Join Date: Oct 2009
    • Posts: 49
    #2

    Re: Different from vs Different than

    Quote Originally Posted by by David Felts from University of Houston-Victoria
    "Understanding the difference between different from and different than is important in writing in a clear and professional manner. This grammar tip explains the difference, the correctness, and the use of these words.



    What is the Difference?

    In the 18th century, different than began to be seen as unacceptable in certain situations. This view has survived for the most part. Many grammar books, such as Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style, argue against using different than. Different from is preferred and considered correct, but different than is considered acceptable on some occasions.



    When to Use Different from

    Use different from for simple comparisons, as in comparing two persons or things.

    Ex.: My car is different from (not than) her car.

    Ex.: The book I bought is different from the one sold in the bookstore.


    It is important to remember that when using different from, the two things being compared (e.g. my car and her car in the first example) should have the same grammatical structure. This is called parallel construction. Here are a couple of examples:

    Ex.: People in the field of literature write differently from people in the field of business.

    Ex.: People in the field of literature write differently from those in the field of business.



    When Different than is Acceptable

    Because of increased use, different than is sometimes considered acceptable in American English. When in doubt, just use different from, as it is preferred by most people. According to the American Heritage Dictionary’s usage panel (1992), different than is acceptable only if the words following different than make up a clause—especially if the clause is elliptical (referring to an aforementioned context without restating it). Here’s an example:

    Ex.: It seems so different than Paris.


    In this example, if different from were used, Paris, the city, would be the object of comparison. Using different than creates a subtle distinction in meaning. Since different than is used, the clause following different than is interpreted as elliptical and suggests “the way things were in Paris” or "than Paris was" or “what happened in Paris.” If you have doubt when to use different than, you might just use different from following the parallel construction rule."

    by David Felts

    Source:
    http://www.uhv.edu/ac/student/writing/grammartip2005.10.04.htm
    there are also actives you could do for practice in that site related to the topic

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Different from vs Different than

    Quote Originally Posted by anupumh View Post
    Hi,

    Which is better to use, "different from" or "different than"?

    James book is different from ours.
    James book is different than ours.

    The school is now very different than what it used to be.
    The school is now very different from what it used to be.

    Thanks
    In my opinion, "from" is always preferable (except for some rather contrived examples).
    In your first example, "from" is the only correct form, IMO.
    In the second example, some people would say "than".

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