Archive for January, 2014

What’s the Difference Between Different From and Different Than?

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Editorial Inspirations Editing/Indexing/Proofreading

We compare things every day and are constantly expressing our opinions about one thing or another. One way we do this is with the words different from and different than. To make your writing clear, professional, and correct, know how to use them in a sentence.

Different from is primarily used when introducing a phrase. Different than can also be used, but different from is the preferred form. Different from is also used for simple comparisons where the things being compared have the same grammatical structure.

For example: My books look different from her books. My books and her books have the same structure and are being compared to one another. In cases where this parallel construction appears, different from should be used.

Different than is used in a sentence when it is followed by a clause. However, differentfrom can also be used if more words are added with the clause.

For example: Married life is different than I expected. In the sentence, different than precedes the clause I expected.

Now look: Married life is different from what I expected it to be. The additional words in the sentence allow you to use different from.

If instead of the word different you need to use differently, the above rules still apply. Differently than is used when it is followed by a clause. When more words are added to the clause, differently from can be used.