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9 replies

timetomove · 05/11/2010 00:28

different to, different from or different than?

as in X is different [to/from/than] his twin Y

Is it than?

OP posts:
PaisleyLeaf · 05/11/2010 00:30

I say 'from' don't know if it's right - but feels right to me.
They're quite different from each other.

Dansmommy · 05/11/2010 00:50

different to.

tallwivglasses · 05/11/2010 00:51

I really need to know this too!

Thanks OP for bringing it up.

Pedants - please explain (with examples?) and put me out of my misery.

timetomove · 05/11/2010 09:37

bump -please help. Otherwise I will just say X and his twin Y are different..

OP posts:
prism · 05/11/2010 09:57

"Different from" will never get you in trouble, though "different to" and even (groan) "different than" are not uncommon and no-one can really pretend they don't make sense.

However, "to" can imply other relations than difference, as in "he was polite to me, but different to you", which is of course NOT the same as saying he's different FROM you. You can actually make the same confusion with "from" (the vegetables were good from the grocer but different from the supermarket), but it's much less likely as we don't use "from" as an adjunct to verbs or adjectives nearly as much as we use "to".

I'm actually making this up as I go along- I was always taught that "different from" is the only way to go (in the mid-20th century by uber-pedant mother) and I'm now trying to figure out why. Time to lie down in a darkened room... Hmm

MardyBra · 05/11/2010 16:56

Guardian Style Guide suggests "from" and "to" are OK, but "than" isn't.

jkklpu · 05/11/2010 20:42

different than is American

different from - you can't go wrong

I think there's an explanation based on Latin prepositions for this, which gives us "different from" and "similar to", all in relation to how close to the comparator you are. Or something.

Barbeasty · 05/11/2010 22:39

If you are saying the twins are different, e.g. Have different personalities, then they are different from one another.

If X is different to Y then he is being different towards Y, i.e. treating Y differently.

VictorianIce · 06/11/2010 14:22

My explanation feels a bit muddled, but this is how I see it: 'from' is moving away form something, so describes differences; 'to' is moving towards something, so shows similarities.

You'd never say "differs to", surely? Only "differs from"

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