The usage of from and than

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I guess I have two questions today because I just thought of another one.  What about different from and different than?   For example:  Though they are identical, the twins act very differently than each other.   Though they are identical, the twins act very differently from each other. I am different from the rest of the employees. I am different than the rest of the employees. I am leaning towards than because it is a comparison word, and from is a direction word.  

than from different asked Aug 31 '13 at 03:18 Chantal New member

1 answer


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Traditionally, you need to ask yourself if what follows "different than" or "different from" is a phrase or a clause:

If it is a word or phrase, use different than.

If it is a clause, use different from.

In this case, you instinct was correct since every single example you gave was followed by a word or phrase and not a clause.

 

There are a couple of reasons that the sentences sound awkward, and this is best addressed by assessing the functions you used.

"act very differently than each other"

act- main verb

very- adverb modifying an adverb modifying a verb

differently- adverb modifying a verb

than each other- prepositional phrase acting as an adverb modifying an adverb modifying a verb

 

As you can see, you added way too many obfuscating modifiers to your verb.

Clarify by taking unnecessarily voluble adverbs out:

The twins act differently.

link comment edited Aug 31 '13 at 16:13 Aaron Prejean Expert

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