+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Different to vs. different from/than

  1. #1
    Contributing User
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Rep Power

    Default Different to vs. different from/than

    Can any Brit or Anglophile explain why you people say "different to" and not "different from" or "different than"? Do you never say either or the latter, or is "different to" only for some cases? Cheers!

  2. #2
    New Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Rep Power

    Default 'We people' do not use 'different to'

    Or possibly I should say that I personally do not use it, though you will no doubt have heard it used by many others in the British media. My own view is that the correct form is 'different from'. Consider the sentence ' This item differs from that item' which could also be written as 'This item is different from that item'. I don't believe that anyone would say 'This item differs to that item', and consequently I don't believe that 'to' is correct in the second form either. However, English has changed over the years, and many changes have resulted from incorrect usage, which has subsequently become accepted simply because it is so common, and this would appear to be the case with 'different to'. The infrequency of use of this form in the USA is probably explained by divergence of the two languages over 3 or 4 centuries.

  3. #3
    Contributing User
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Rep Power


    Hi Meromero!
    According to Collins Cobuild English Guide to Prepositions, all three prepositions (to, than and from) are correct.
    As to the question on usage in the UK, can't help you with that!
    See U!

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Rep Power


    In conversation we use all three. There is no difference...

  5. #5
    Senior Member Hebe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Caracas- Venezuela
    Rep Power


    This is a valuable thread indeed. I always used “different from” and until now, I wasn’t sure if the other prepositions were valid. Would they be properly used in formal written English, too?.

    Truly, my dear young friends, you are a chosen generation. I hope you will never forget it.
    Gordon B. Hinckley

  6. #6
    New Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Rep Power

    Lightbulb Re: Different to vs. different from/than

    Hi, everybody.

    Here is a good explanation taken from: http://alt-usage-english.org/excerpts/fxdiffer.html

    "Different from" is the construction that no one will object to.
    "Different to" is fairly common informally in the U.K., but rare in
    the U.S. "Different than" is sometimes used to avoid the cumbersome
    "different from that which", etc. (e.g., "a very different Pamela
    than I used to leave all company and pleasure for" -- Samuel
    Richardson). Some U.S. speakers use "different than" exclusively.
    Some people have insisted on "different from" on the grounds that
    "from" is required after "to differ". But Fowler points out that
    there are many other adjectives that do not conform to the
    construction of their parent verbs (e.g., "accords with", but
    "according to"; "derogates from", but "derogatory to").

    The Collins Cobuild Bank of English shows choice of preposition
    after "different" to be distributed as follows:


    U.K. writing 87.6
    U.K. speech 68.8
    U.S. writing 92.7
    U.S. speech 69.3


    U.K. writing 10.8
    U.K. speech 27.3
    U.S. writing 0.3
    U.S. speech 0.6


    U.K. writing 1.5
    U.K. speech 3.9
    U.S. writing 7.0
    U.S. speech 30.1

    However, Google search results tell that the order of usage is the following:

    1. Different from: The most used.
    2. Different than: The second most used.
    3. Different to: The third most used.

    Best regards,

    Luis R. Villegas H.

+ Reply to Thread

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts