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Difference between different from or different than

different from or different than

The phrases Different from and Different than are both used to indicate a distinction or a lack of similarity between two entities, but their usage varies primarily by grammatical tradition and regional preference. Different from is traditionally preferred in both British and American English due to its alignment with the preposition “from” following the adjective “different.” However, Different than is commonly used in American English, especially when introducing a clause.

Quick Facts Table

AspectDifferent FromDifferent Than
Grammar RolePrepositionPreposition
Common UsagePreferred in UK English and considered more grammatically correct universallyMore commonly used in American English, especially when followed by a clause
Example SentenceThe book is different from the movie.Her approach is different than what was expected.

Difference Between “Different From” and “Different Than

Definition of Different From

"Different from" is used to highlight a distinction between two or more items, indicating that they are not the same in one or several aspects. It is widely accepted in both British and American English as the standard form of comparison.

Definition of Different Than

"Different than" is primarily used in American English to introduce a clause or phrase that explains how two or more items differ. It is sometimes preferred for its flow in sentences, especially in spoken English.

Origin of Different From

The phrase “different from” has been in use for centuries, with its roots deeply embedded in traditional English grammar. It follows the standard structure of comparison using the preposition “from” to denote distinction.

Origin of Different Than

“Different than” emerged more recently, adapting to the evolving patterns of American English. It reflects a more informal style that has gained acceptance over time, especially in the United States.


Both phrases are pronounced according to their individual words, with no significant differences in pronunciation. The stress typically falls on the first syllable of “different,” with the prepositions “from” and “than” pronounced as they usually are.

Comparing Different From and Different Than

FeatureDifferent FromDifferent Than
Grammatical AcceptanceUniversally recognized and preferred in formal writingAccepted in American English, especially in informal contexts
ClarityDirectly compares two items without introducing a clauseOften introduces a clause, making it suitable for complex comparisons
FlexibilityLess flexible in sentence structureProvides flexibility, especially in spoken English

Usage in Sentences with Explanations

Use of Different From in Sentences

  1. The climate in Canada is different from that in Mexico. (Shows a clear comparison between two distinct climates)
  2. My painting style is different from yours. (Compares two styles directly)
  3. The results of the experiment were different from the initial hypothesis. (Highlights a straightforward difference)
  4. Her perspective is entirely different from mine. (Indicates a clear distinction in viewpoints)
  5. The movie’s ending was different from the book’s. (Compares two different mediums directly)

Use of Different Than in Sentences

  1. Life in the city is different than it used to be. (Introduces a clause indicating change over time)
  2. His approach was different than what we had planned. (Prepares for an explanation of the differences)
  3. The scenario is different than you might expect. (Leads into a clause that clarifies expectations)
  4. My reaction was different than I thought it would be. (Introduces a personal reflection on the difference)
  5. The techniques used today are different than those used in the past. (Sets up for a comparison of techniques over time)


Understanding the nuances between “different from” and “different than” enhances clarity and precision in communication. While “different from” is universally accepted and widely used for direct comparisons, “different than” offers flexibility, particularly useful in American English or when introducing complex clauses. Recognizing when to use each phrase allows for more effective and accurate expression of differences.

Commonly Asked Questions

  • Which is grammatically correct, “different from” or “different than”?
    • “Different from” is generally considered more grammatically correct, especially in formal writing.
  • Can “different than” be used in formal writing?
    • While “different than” is more common in informal contexts, it can be used in formal writing, particularly in American English.
  • Is one more correct than the other in academic writing?
    • In academic writing, “different from” is often preferred for its clarity and traditional grammatical structure.
  • Does the choice between them vary by region?
    • Yes, “different from” is more common in British English, while “different than” is frequently used in American English.
Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith, writer at, blends creativity with insight, exploring technology, culture, and psychology. With a background in English Literature, she crafts engaging stories inspired by nature and urban life. Outside writing, she enjoys exploring and continuous learning.View Author posts

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