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Grammar and writing basics

Different From/Than

As most of you know by now, I’m a grammar and syntax purist, and I’m a pain about it. This post is no different.

In the past we were told to use “different from” at all times, even though people used “different than” in speech all the time. “Different from” is used for contrast.

“Than” is for comparing (smarter than the average bear). Some grammarians, including my dictionary, think it’s OK to use “than” if a clause follows the “than.” For example, “The house is different than I remember it.” What follows “than” is a complete sentence.

So, it follows even if it is unwritten that the dictionary disallows “than” if it’s not followed (sorry, two follows) by a clause. So, it’s not all right to write, “Yogi is different than Boo-Boo.”

I say phooey to all that hair-splitting. I say use “from” all the time. BTW, so does the AP Stylebook. The example sentence can easily read, “The house is different from my memory of it.” Also, “Yogi is different from Boo-Boo.”

I know I’m sweeping the ocean with a broom, but I’ll stick to my guns (do you love that mixed metaphor?) until they pry the keyboard out of my cold, dead hands.

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June 18, 2009 um 3:16 pm
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