"different than" - regional or wrong?

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"different than" - regional or wrong?

Postby Woods » 2019-04-25, 13:36

Not that long ago I realised I was always using the adjective "different" followed by "than" rather than "from." At some point I figured out "from" should rather be used, so I started saying that something is different from something and not that something is different than something. But then I figured some other people are actually still saying "different than" in spite of my realisation.

So here are all the exaples from Oxford Dictionaries:

‘the car is different from anything else on the market’
‘A carrot grown in one place is going to be different from one grown somewhere else.’
‘As the only European to do so he was different from the rest but in other ways he was just the same in that he had a story to tell.’
‘For all these reasons we have a business cycle that is quite different from the rest of Europe.’
‘This is very different from the way in which domestic machines were received in the past.’
‘Huge sums have been won and lost between them and this day would be no different from all the others.’
‘Will there come a time when the pain will be less or even different from what it is now?’
‘For me it's not that different from producing a painting or performing a piece of music.’
‘It's very different from here, and high on the list of reasons why I need to move to a big city soon.’
‘It's different from acute medicine in that you do get to know families very well indeed.’
‘I was an academic and working all the time and that made me different from everyone else.’
‘Women are different from men, but it is time to say farewell to the politics of difference.’
‘Needless to say, my idea of a perfect holiday might be different from that of other people.’
‘The new improved model works in a rather different way from the original version.’
‘The story was a bit different from the traditional tale but it was still cracking!’
‘This is quite different from Europe, where eating on the slopes will cost you an arm and a leg.’

As you can see there's no "different than" whatsoever, so I'd assume it's just non-native / wrong?

And I can also see something I'm absolutely not used to - "different to":

‘A good comic book gets into your brain in a manner quite different to a novel or movie.’
‘He says that life in Bolton is not too different to that in Austria, except for the weather.’

Seems to be used the same way as "different from" - so I guess this is the only alternative conjunction?

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Re: "different than" - regional or wrong?

Postby linguoboy » 2019-04-25, 14:28

This is a pretty good summary of the usage: https://www.grammar.com/different-from-vs-different-than/.

(I'm a native speaker of American English and I use "different than" fairly indiscriminately for both clauses and noun phrases. "Different to" is utterly foreign to my speech but I recognise it as ordinary UK usage.)
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Re: "different than" - regional or wrong?

Postby Woods » 2019-04-27, 7:37

Well, it should be perfectly fine to use "different than" then.

It's strange that Oxford Dictionaries have not given any examples of it. Usually they mention American things too, they just point out that it's American.

I guess I should always check Merriam-Webster right after Oxford when I have such doubts.

Nonetheless I've switched to "different from" now, there's no turning back :)

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Re: "different than" - regional or wrong?

Postby TeneReef » 2019-05-01, 12:19

The old house looks different from what I remember. =
(Brit) The old house looks different to what I remember. =
(US) The old house looks different than I remember.

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Re: "different than" - regional or wrong?

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-10-09, 7:37

I wouldn't use different than, personally.

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Re: "different than" - regional or wrong?

Postby Babbsagg » 2019-12-12, 13:00

Interesting... in my understanding they're all interchangeable really, I prefer "different to" and sometimes use "different from", but never "different than". "Different to" is apparently a British thing, didn't know that.
Thank you for correcting mistakes!

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