Tag Archives: different than

Wednesday’s Words: Different from, different than, or different to?

False teeth4Sometimes an expression just hits you as wrong, but you can’t say why. A “dentist” in a TV commercial for a popular denture cleanser said “dentures are different to real teeth.” I couldn’t let it pass, so I put on my sleuth’s cap and started sleuthing – much to my eventual dissatisfaction.

The most in-depth source claimed that “different” is not a comparative word, but one of contrast. The word “than” should actually follow a comparative adjective – that would indicate using “different from.” “Different than” cannot be substituted for “different from” but is sometimes useful as an idiom or for beginning clauses if “different from” would be awkward. The construction “different to” is primarily British usage. All that sounds good to me.

HOWEVER, numerous other sources claim there is basically no difference, except for the British origin of “different to.” I can’t stand equivocation! Think I’ll go with “different from.”

Tomorrow, The Gruesome Repurposing of an Egyptian Monument

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