from, or than? - Page 4


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  1. #31
    The main argument in that link seems very similar to the one in my original post, Neetu, but as I said,

    'It may be that this use of 'Than' instead of 'From' is American English, it certainly seems to be used mainly by Americans, but is it regarded as acceptable, or is it a dialect quirk not used by the mainstream? It raises my hackles every time I read it.'

    In other words I am quite wiling to accept that language and usage changes, and though it 'raises my hackles' so do a number of American usages that are quite acceptable, I am, after all fairly ancient and British

    Let's differentiate between a ninteenth century concept of grammar that prescribes usage and a modern one that accepts usage and then attempts to define it. My main interest was if 'that' had become used enough to be acceptable or was still regarded as a deviation, it seems the latter. My feeling is that it may well become used enough to enter the mainstream, however I do not see it serves a function as, say, a double negative can in imparting emphasis.
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  2. #32
    The Genius of Birds, by Jennifer Ackerman, published in this country by Penguin and a Sunday Times nature book of the year.

    Page 189 "...the black capped chickadees living on Martha's Vinyard sing a different tune than their colleagues on the Massachusetts mainland.

    Seems like it is becoming accepted.
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  3. #33
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    Ollie, "different than" American usage; "different from" British usage. Both understandable by readers and listeners whether American or British. I speak "different than." But no problem with either. Not at all worth conflicting on which one best.

    However, to American writers, "different than" moves slightly quicker and perhaps sometimes moves smoother into the next word: "different than a pear," nice; "different than an apple," a little messy but O.K.; "different from an apple," very smooth. You decide. - Kyle X
    Last edited by Kyle X Lehr; October 11th, 2017 at 06:08 PM.

  4. #34
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    Different from is correct, even though it sounds clumsy. The word "From" is naturally a separating word.
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  5. #35
    Kyle, Bloggs, there is a thing with grammar, or rather there are two things, prescriptive and descriptive.

    Imagine teaching grammar, they did it in grammar schools, and they did it from text books, with rules, by those rules Bloggs is perfectly right. That is prescriptive grammar.

    But the 'living language' is interesting too, and there are insights in the way people use language, using double negatives, for example, can often be a way of giving emphasis by repetition. Looking at stuff and trying to decide what is happening in real life is descriptive grammar.

    Even the most conservative of grammar guides and lexicons update from time to time, a tacit admission that none of this language stuff is fixed, along with the archaic origins they cite that show how much things change.
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  6. #36
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    Ollie, if I responded in the manner I want or on the subject I prefer to discuss, you'd likely reject every thought of my response. That doesn't do either of us any good.

    To be sure, I hold no desire to revisit "different than" and "different from." I addressed already and essentially said the neither bothers me, the two carry the same meaning understood by readers and listeners, and both conventionally accepted. But nearly everyone hugs a favorite pet as special.

    Still, Ollie, if you want to discuss the subject I prefer discussing, just call out my name and I'll be there.

    I should've been a song writer. - Kyle X

  7. #37
    I am going off 'The Genius of Birds', she has used the 'Than' construction twice more now, but she is not consistent, she uses 'from' as well, and horror of horrors! She spoke of a 'glister of goldfinches', surely everyone knows the collective noun is a 'charm'? What next? A 'non judicial killing' of crows? A 'Senate' of rooks?
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  8. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Olly Buckle View Post
    I keep seeing 'different than'. For me 'than' is a word to use when two things are being compared; bigger than a house, sexier than me. From is for places where there is not comparison; a room separate from the house, get away from me.
    With 'than' the two things share a quality, bigger than, taller than, wilder than, and soon. With 'from' we are talking about things not shared, different from, apart from, held back from, and so on.

    It may be that this use of 'Than' instead of 'From' is American English, it certainly seems to be used mainly by Americans, but is it regarded as acceptable, or is it a dialect quirk not used by the mainstream? It raises my hackles every time I read it.
    You're right, Olly Buckle, 'different than' is certainly American usage but rapidly being adopted by younger Brit English speakers thanks to US TV programmes and movies. As the old adage has it, 'If America sneezes in the morning, Britain catches cold in the afternoon.'

    As an older Brit, I grew up using 'different to' and 'different from' fairly loosely.

    The same is true of the American habit of using conditional constructions in the past tense, ie British 'If I won the lottery, I would buy a new house.' is fast giving way among young Brits to US 'If I would win etc.'

    In these islands, the Present Perfect tense has almost completely replaced the Simple Past as in 'Yesterday, he has gone into the shop and he's stolen a loaf of bread.'

    As for the Past Perfect, eg 'If you had done/not done that then he would have done/not have done something else.' is now 'If you did/did not do something etc.'

    'May. might and could' are used willy-nilly by people who should know the difference. Weather forecasters have almost all dropped the predictive 'it will rain etc' for 'it rains etc.'

    The only books read nowadays by young people would all seem to be by Roald Dahl and J. K. Rowling.

    I do not believe that any of the above can be prevented and our grandchildren are going to be dissuaded from reading any literature older than their parents for the same reason that has led to Shakespeare's original works being read for pleasure by a only small minority of English speakers.

    topcol

  9. #39
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    As an American, I'm guessing here. In informal conversational writing, American writers might've preferred "different than" by the two words together rolling more smoothly of the tongue. The "f's" in "different from" might've sounded muffled to them or too "f"ey.

    So many idioms in American usage. Many of them literally translated make no sense. But everyone in America understands the idiom meaning.

  10. #40
    Morning, Olly Buckle. hope you're well. Further to what I posted yesterday about American usage in Brit English, I've just heard an advert for Niquitin in which the voice-over had "If nicotine craving would strike ..." where it should be "does or were to strike".

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