Different From, Different Than, or Different To?

Different From, Different Than, or Different To?

homesitemapA-Z confused words different from, different than, or different to?
"Different from," "different than," or "different to" are regularly debated by writers. If you're unsure which to use, then play it safe and use "different from."

More about Different From, Different Than, and Different To

Some people insist that "different to" and "different than" are incorrect. While it's true that "different from" is the safest option, the other two are not completely incorrect.

Different From

"Different from" is by far the most common of the three, and it is accepted in both American and British English. In other words, it will keep everyone happy. Of note, "different from" works best when it is followed by a noun or noun phrase. For example:
  • Women artists are still treated differently from men.
  • (Here, it is followed by the noun "men.")
  • My problems aren't so different from anybody else's.
  • (Here, it is followed by the noun phrase "anybody else's.")

Different Than

The alternative option "different than" is more common in American English, especially when followed by a clause. For example:
  • I'm not very different than I was when I was a teenager.
  • I don't feel any different than I did before the movie came out.
  • (In these examples, the words after "than" are clauses.)

Different To

"Different to" can be used in British English, especially when the "different" and "to" are separated. For example:
  • She seemed no different at first to the other girls he met at university.
  • (Brits tend to opt for "different to" when there are words between "different" and "to.")
  • She seemed no different from the other girls he met at university.
  • (When there are no words between, Brits also prefer "different from" to "different to.")
different from, different to, or different than?
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This page was written by Craig Shrives.

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