With English language going places, each culture has added their own frills to it. Through the days of colonization, when English was an important connecting language between the colonized and the colonizers, to the current time where it is the global business language. And this business language is a neutral as far as local influences are concerned and entails its set of rules (not just grammar).
Even with the standards set, the local usage has managed to stick and resulted in some clouds of confusion hovering over an otherwise straightforward usage. And over the years these clouds have become so thick that in many cases the usage has surpassed the logic.
One such example is usage of ‘different than’ & ‘different from’.
different than vs. different from
Both the phrases ‘different than’ and ‘different from’ are frequently used and that too inevitably. Though the grammarians rule out the use of ‘than’ after ‘different’, but the common usage of comparative preposition after ‘different’ has lead to the belief that different is a comparative adjective and should be followed by ‘than’, like better than and faster than. But it’s not a comparative! The word ‘different’ is used to make a distinction and hence as we say separate from, distinct from, apart from, we also say different from.
Important: The use of ‘different than’ is correct when ‘different’ is followed by a dependent clause introduced by a conjunction and in case ‘different’ is followed by a prepositional phrase, then the preposition used is ‘from’. This is the classic example where the usage goes beyond the logic and follows what we call the arbitrary rules of grammar.
- My bike is different from her bike.
- The car I use to drive is different from the one you drive.
- This design looks so different than the website.
And now to make things simpler, here’s a tip:
‘Different’ has got two f’s, so you can remember it as different followed by from. Hope this helps 🙂
If this one’s done, let’s get to another wrecking confusion – which v. that.