English Usage Topics > Different From or Different Than

Different From or Different Than

Some believe that different should be followed only by from and never by than. But that is not the case, at least not anymore. From is more common in introducing a phrase: My opinions are different from yours. Than is used to introduce a clause: The prisoner ran in a different direction than the bystanders indicated. If you were to use from in a sentence like this, you would have to add a few words: The prisoner ran in a different direction from the one that the bystanders indicated.
If you find it hard to remember these distinctions, don’t worry because this is another case where it really doesn’t matter which word you use. No matter how the sentence is constructed, both from and than are now standard usage after different. In fact, both have been used for at least three hundred years. And that makes it okay.
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