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Fine-Tuning 17, Different from/Different than

 
 
Roberta
 
Reply Fri 18 Jul, 2003 05:01 am
I'm sure that most of us know that different from is the way to go. However, I have encountered a source (a most reliable source) that says that it's okay to use different than in order to avoid creating a very awkward sentence (and only then).

I actually contacted the author of this source and kvetched. He told me to get over it. I'm working on it.

Examples:

My opinion is different from yours.

I see this situation in a different way than you do. (This is to avoid having to say: I see this situation in a way different from the way in which you do.)
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Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 5,354 • Replies: 41
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sweetcomplication
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jul, 2003 09:22 am
Oh, dear! I've spent years explaining the 'correct' usage of different from as opposed to different than...what's next? I know: "ain't" will actually be named preferable ... aaaggghhh Laughing Rolling Eyes !
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nextone
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jul, 2003 09:35 am
I might use, " You see it one way; I see it differently."
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jul, 2003 11:43 am
Sweetcomplication, I agree with you. Feh. Although I'm obliged to provide the correct info here, I say phooey. Let's pretend we never heard of this.

Nextone, Of course you can change the whole thing to avoid "different than." I'm guessing that most of the time you can, and some of the time rewording will be a pain in the patoot. That's when the "than" comes in.
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sweetcomplication
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jul, 2003 11:45 am
Roberta wrote:
Sweetcomplication, I agree with you. Feh. Although I'm obliged to provide the correct info here, I say phooey. Let's pretend we never heard of this.


Roberta, heard of what? Laughing :wink: Rolling Eyes
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jul, 2003 09:45 pm
SweetC, Beats the hell out of me????????????
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sweetcomplication
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jul, 2003 09:46 pm
:wink: Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing :wink:
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oristarA
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jul, 2003 03:21 am
Comparative method usually helps us find the better. Did I get your meaning?
The sentence "I see this situation in a different way than you do." sounds terse, while "I see this situation in a way different from the way in which you do" somewhat loquacious -- because "the way in which" is a marplot.
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sweetcomplication
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jul, 2003 06:47 am
oristarA, my opinion is different from yours! :wink: Laughing :wink:
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jul, 2003 08:19 am
Oristar, I just looked up "marplot." I learned a new word. Are you using it correctly? I need time to adjust to new words.

The problem with the example is that it's just that. An example. It's easy to see ways to reword the example to make the issue of "different from" and "different than" irrelevant. However, there are cases (I know them when I see them) in which it's not so easy to rework the sentence and "different from" becomes unwieldy. If I come across one, I'll share it with you.

BTW, as little as five years ago, "different than" was absolutely against the rules of usage--no matter what.
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oristarA
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jul, 2003 11:29 am
Roberta, I am not very sure for the usage of the word marplot. But I thought I might be in the right ballpark, for I used it in a humourous way. Please take a look at the following:

AHD defines the word like this:
A stupid, officious meddler whose interference compromises the success of an undertaking.

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary defines:

n. One who, by his officious interference, mars or frustrates a design or plot.

And Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary:

mar.plot n (1764): one who frustrates or ruins a plan or undertaking by meddling.
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jul, 2003 08:34 pm
Oristar, I used my Merriam Webster's dictionary. I think a marplot is a person, but I now understand how you were using it to make an amusing point with the "different from" thing.

I love learning new words. I'm now waiting to pounce with it should the situation arise.
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sweetcomplication
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jul, 2003 09:16 pm
Thank you, Oristar!

Roberta: me, too; me, too: this will be a good one to just throw out there :wink: Laughing Cool !
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jul, 2003 10:28 pm
Well, just let me marplot on this a few minutes and I will come up with a non-succinct view that is different from yours. Oh, now, an apostrophe? How can I forget the primitive stuff?

I am fairly sure I have used both different from and different than, and felt comfortable as I was doing it. I should explain, as an aside, that I was well educated in the last century on word usage and have wung it ever since. Thus, I am not one to substantiate my point of view with really beefy arguments. However, my instincts are not entirely awful. So, on diff from and than, I need to get back to you on why one would come out of my mouth or typing hands rather than the other.

I beg to differ with a rule in favor of using only "from". You don't think differently, do you? Differently seems wrong on the face of it.
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sweetcomplication
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jul, 2003 08:05 am
ossobuco wrote:
. . .I beg to differ with a rule in favor of using only "from". . .


Understood, Osso, and I had quite a time learning that rule in English courses, however, when I was educated, that was definitely the rule! You know how arbitrary American English can be, right? I believe Roberta and I might be coming from a more rigid place, but, hey, rules is rules...heh heh heh; on the other hand, I love it in other areas of life when I 'buck' the rules, Osso, so come on back with your ideas on same, ok?
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jul, 2003 08:38 am
SweetC, I'm with you. As far as English is concerned, rules is rules and rules is often arbitrary. I think that we should know the rules so that when we break them, we're doing it with purpose.

Glad to hear that you buck the rules. I'm not so much a rule bucker as I am a marcher to my own drummer.
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sweetcomplication
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jul, 2003 08:40 am
Roberta, one who marches to one's own drums is far more brave than a simple rule-bucker...besides, it sounds so much better Laughing :wink: !
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jul, 2003 10:03 am
This is a different thread from what I expected it would be. I feel differently about it now than I did before.
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jul, 2003 06:34 pm
SweetC, Brave? Moi? I don't know about that. Weird? Absolutely.

Bravo, Andy. Perfect examples. Poifect!
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Wy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jul, 2003 11:26 pm
I can't name a source right offhand, but I've been running into "different to" lately. Now THAT is a craw-sticker if ever I heard one!

And it puts "different from/different than" in a whole other light...
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