Is It “Different From” or “Different Than”?


Both different from and different than are accepted in standard American English, and both have been in use for the last 300 years. But is one of these phrases more correct than the other?

In formal writing, different from is generally preferred to different than. This preference has to do, in part, with the historical use of the word than. This term entered English as a conjunction often used with comparative adjectives, such as better, taller, shorter, warmer, lesser, and more, to introduce the second element in a comparison. Different is not a comparative adjective. Thus, when different than first started appearing in English, it sounded grating or less natural to discerning ears.

From has been used with the verb differ since at least the 1500s, which paved the way for different from to be readily accepted into the lexicon. William Shakespeare used different from in The Comedy of Errors: “This week he hath been heavy, sour, sad, / And much different from the man he was…” Other pairings have popped up over the years, including different against, but  different from and different than remain the two most useful among English speakers. Different than is common in American English, but might sound strange to British ears, and in the UK, different to is a common alternative that is seldom used in the US.

When in doubt, stick with different from. However, note that there is a time and place for different than. When what follows is a clause, than can be the more elegant choice: My grandmother looks different than I remember. From works best when what follows is a noun or noun phrase: My grandmother looks different from that old photograph of her.


  1. Bill Hunter -  November 15, 2016 - 8:17 am

    Thanks for this. I wonder if you might modify what you say about “than” when followed by a clause. I would also say “My grandmother looks different than I remember,” but I would say “My grandmother looks different FROM WHAT I remember.”
    I think the (understood) relative pronoun somehow makes “than” acceptable in this construction.

  2. wr -  October 13, 2016 - 9:36 am

    “My grandmother looks different than I remember” is just plain wrong.

  3. Norma Perez -  September 30, 2016 - 11:29 am

    In Canada “different to” is the norm.

    • Ryan -  November 15, 2016 - 10:29 pm

      I can’t speak for the rest of Canada but I don’t think I have ever heard someone say “different to” in southern Ontario.

  4. Lee -  May 25, 2016 - 10:35 am

    I think of “than” for comparative adjectives (that is, those that end with “er” such as “faster than” and “smaller than”) but “than” appears paired with other words that contain “er” such as “different than”, “other than”, and “rather than”. Is it merely the “er” that gives these words the “than”? If so, is there a “non-than” pairing for “other than” or “rather than” similar to the “different from” that is sometimes considered better than “different than”?

    • EngMaj -  July 26, 2016 - 7:37 am

      Listen up: Lee is correct! One could say faster or slower than, or shorter or taller that, or even dumber or smarter–than BUT, “differenter than” is not within the framework of our language parameters.

      Another form is “differ”. A chair has four legs; a cow has four legs. Now, does the chair differ FROM the cow or differ THAN the cow? Same root word!

      • James Crabtree -  November 3, 2016 - 3:27 pm

        While you, EngMaj, are correct that differenter is not the accepted comparative form of different,more different is. Thus “more different than” would be the correct usage as than is used after comparative forms of adjectives. Lee, “rather than” or “other than” are coordinating conjunctions so than is proper. Different is the positive form of an adjective so takes from (in American English!).

  5. christyanah -  May 19, 2016 - 3:32 pm

    hi I’m a new zealander and i love to like; find interesting facts

  6. Keith H. -  May 17, 2016 - 8:33 pm

    I’m American, an English teacher by profession, and a British friend once asked me about the usage of “different to,” saying he thought it sounded ghastly, and asked me if that was the way we say it. I told him “different to” also sounded very irregular to my ears, and that I normally say “different from” and can’t specifically remember ever having said “different than.” I don’t really like “different than.” But I remember once, in a theological discussion, having used both “from” and “than” in a single construction. One poster said “(The doctrine of) Modalistic monarchianism is just like the Arianism that the Jehovah’s witnesses believe in.” I countered, “On the contrary, (modalistic monarchianism) is more different from Arianism than Trinitarianism is.” “More different from… than….” Maybe a different construction, but it’s about as close as I come to using “different than.” Otherwise I don’t like it.

    • John C -  July 7, 2016 - 9:33 am

      You actually used the “than” with the comparative “more different.”

    • Jim Selle -  August 7, 2016 - 5:25 pm

      Actually, if you are a Mexican, Canadian, or Columbian, you are also “an American.” If a person is from the United States of America, to call one’s self “American” could be construed as elite or even jingoistic.

      • Kelsey -  August 10, 2016 - 2:15 pm

        I have always struggled with that point of view and here is why: the word “America” is in the title of our country–the United States of America. The other countries on the American continents do not have “America” in their names. Every country has a demonym, and “American” is much easier to say than other possible variations: “United Statesian” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. In addition, people from other countries in the western hemisphere (at least those that speak Spanish) often refer to citizens of the United States as Americanos which is pretty close to “American”–so it appears to be a widely-accepted term. Finally, there are generally two types of English referred to in linguistic circles–”American English” and “British English”–so the writer calling herself “American” was quite appropriate in this context.

        • Maria C -  November 4, 2016 - 6:36 pm

          Thank you for that sincere explanation. I have struggled with the term as well when it was pointed out to me but could find no satisfactory alternative. It should at least flow of the lips and be somewhat universally accepted. :)

        • Mark -  November 22, 2016 - 8:11 am

          For my technical support day job, I talk with people from all over North America. The Mexicans / Latin Americans / Central Americans, and Canadians I talk to usually say things like, “I know you guys in America do it that way, but up here in Canada, we do it this way,” or “Are you guys only in America, or do you have an office near us in Mexico?”
          It used to catch me off-guard, but when I would ask them about it, they usually just explain that it’s normal for them to refer to people from the States as “Americans” and everyone else in the Americas depending on the specific country they’re in or from.

          I don’t think they are trying to make me an elitist.

  7. Swaranjeet -  April 30, 2016 - 7:08 pm

    The words ‘from’ and ‘to’ both denote distance – the first moving away and the latter moving towards. Hence, ‘different from’ and ‘similar to’.

    Of course, language owes a lot (if not everything) to usage but the more a language develops/evolves the more stringent are the do’s and dont’s. The addition/acceptance of newer versions of existing words does needs to be based on need rather than the lack of knowledge of it by a large section.

    This article is discussing the less problematic examples of the changing usage of words. The bigger problem is the complete destruction/amputation/crude-reincarnation of perfectly fine words and phrases. Just accepting each and every bastardisation of the language is not just intellectual laziness – it is the stretching of freedom of speach and freedom of writing to an area it was never really meant for.

    • Swaranjeet -  April 30, 2016 - 7:37 pm

      ‘Than’ in similar usage denotes degree of difference as in darker than-lighter than, better than-worse than, bigger than- smaller than and so on . . .

      ‘ Different than’ doesn’t do that in my humble opinion . . . but I am not from this field I must admit :)

      • jp -  May 20, 2016 - 4:31 pm

        than doesnt say degree of difference, its used to facilitate contrast, in your darker/light examples anyway.

    • K. Craig -  May 16, 2016 - 8:37 am

      You ended your sentence with a preposition. A better ending would have been, – it is the stretching of freedom of speech (you spelled is ‘speach’) and freedom of writing to an area for which it was never really meant.

      • Bart -  May 16, 2016 - 1:31 pm

        Yes, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which you should not put. (To paraphrase Winston Churchill’s ridicule of this bit of grammatical puritanism.)

        • Col.Jessup -  May 17, 2016 - 6:45 pm

          I’ve never ended a sentence with a preposition that I can think of.

      • Fred Hayes -  October 30, 2016 - 2:53 am

        “At one time, schoolchildren were taught that a sentence should never end with a preposition. However, this is a philosophy actually associated with Latin grammar. While many aspects of Latin have made their way into the English language, this particular grammar rule is not suited for modern English usage.”

    • michaiah -  May 16, 2016 - 10:03 am


      • Me -  May 17, 2016 - 9:22 am


        • Heehee -  June 1, 2016 - 9:33 am


          • Stop -  June 1, 2016 - 9:34 am


    • jp -  May 20, 2016 - 4:27 pm

      to and from tell us direction in reference to something. not distance.

      ‘I went *to* the store’
      (how far away was I when I began that journey?)

      ‘I just came *from* the store’
      (how far…?)

    • Vicky -  May 25, 2016 - 12:54 pm

      Swaranjeet, you sound more like a prescriptive grammarian. I agree with you to an extent. At least, I have seen a reason why anything should not just be acceptable under the disguise of language usage. If grammar is worth studying, definitely, it is worth observing correctly.

  8. Keith Anker -  April 20, 2016 - 11:15 pm

    If one MUST use “than”, why not precede it with “other”: e.g., “I understand it otherwise than they [do].”.

  9. salesmansanta -  April 15, 2016 - 9:13 am

    hey guy

    • y -  May 16, 2016 - 1:08 pm


  10. salesmansanta -  April 15, 2016 - 8:55 am

    hey guys

  11. mark -  April 2, 2016 - 10:00 am

    Btw, in comparison w one-digit numbers, it appears that three-digit numbers are more different than two-digit numbers.
    eg: 100 is different from 1 by 99,
    while 10 is different from 1 by only 9.
    This example shows the calculated differences differing from each other by 90.
    So, what difference would it make, in such an example, to highlight a difference greater than that ? Wouldn’t (102 – 2) – (12 – 2) = 90 be different from the other example, yet its difference not ? So, for those caught up in formalities, would that be different from a “different than” argument ?

    • salesmansanta -  April 15, 2016 - 9:14 am

      wat up

    • Sam -  April 18, 2016 - 9:23 am

      Yes because your talking about maths not arguing about differences from and than

  12. Calvin -  March 14, 2016 - 2:01 am

    The example given in favor of ‘different than’ is ludicrous. Just say “My grandmother looks different from what I remember of her.” This makes the final portion of the statement act as a noun and nullify the need for ‘different than.’

    • Elena -  March 25, 2016 - 4:13 am

      I agree. That example is the opposite of elegant.

      • cj -  April 21, 2016 - 7:30 am

        i agree toooooooo.

  13. Gracie -  March 10, 2016 - 10:42 am

    Different Than

    • John -  March 12, 2016 - 4:35 am

      To say “more different than” would be correct since that is a comparison. Otherwise “different from” is correct since it does not make a comparison in terms of a particular quality such as tallness. For example, “Tallness is different from unsophistication”.

      • Jason -  March 17, 2016 - 10:44 am

        Exactly. We don’t use “than” other from when the comparative form of an adjective is used. So rather from making up rules about what kinds of constructions are found with this word, we should consider that we need like nowhere else to a forum of esteemed internet users.

        If the sarcasm wasn’t obvious, using “than” with things besides adjectives in their comparative form is already part and parcel of standard English. No need to make up rules that don’t exist.

        • irony -  May 19, 2016 - 5:01 am

          The sad thing about the sarcasm you were trying to use, is the fact that you replaced “than” with “from” in two comparative instances. “Other than” contrasts one object, situation, etc., with another (in your example, it is comparing “uses” of the word “than”). “Rather than” states a preference for one option over another (in your example, it is a preference for fewer rules governing how we use words in English over a stricter rule set).

          • paul cauchon -  October 21, 2016 - 6:43 pm

            Wasn’t the use of “from”itself the sarcasm?

      • adamant -  May 20, 2016 - 7:09 am

        In that case you should say “blue is more different than orange from red” or, indeed, “blue is more different from red than orange” – but I guess that would cause utter confusion in the US.

    • Maxfax -  March 13, 2016 - 3:44 am

      ‘Different than’ is in close competition with ‘different to’ in terms of grate-worthiness.
      As ever, context counts.

      But a generally acceptable rule of thumb for the less well-read (or educated) is to employ ‘different from’ in most situations – differences being separating and therefore being apart, as in ‘from’.

      As a helpful contrasting aide-memoire, it is nearly always most appropriate to use ‘similar to’ (where the situation can be defined as drawing together – by being alike).

      In adddition to the problems created by the shallow and callow minds of the advertising and publicity industry, the existence of one English language in its country of birth, and another abusing form of it in America claiming the same title only makes matters worse.

      I feel sorry for the rest of the world’s confusion – especially when the Hollywood film industry (in collusion with post-war U.S.State) exported their bastardisation of English to the world, and now Microsoft is doing it even more perniciously.

      Can I suggest the portmanteau name ‘Yanklish’ for all those grating misdemeanours with which too many Americans diminish the English language.

      I could go on – but I already have…!

      • Gene -  March 15, 2016 - 4:31 am

        Nicely stated. Yanklish,huh? It’s growing on me.

      • Ted -  April 28, 2016 - 6:01 am

        The English language doesn’t belong to England, nor do the Thirteen Colonies, India, Canada, Australia, Burma, Egypt, South Africa…”I could go on, but I already have!” Ah ha ha ha.

    • Anya -  April 7, 2016 - 12:17 am

      I think it is different than too

    • Dorothy -  July 28, 2016 - 12:21 am

      Right! I agree, Calvin.

  14. Shhggffvmhfrf -  March 9, 2016 - 2:58 pm

    I think it is different than

    • unweptcorgi3009(gnny) -  March 11, 2016 - 10:27 am

      Different than just SOUNDS better.

      • tal -  April 12, 2016 - 5:12 pm

        but differ and differing cannot be followed by than…

  15. Royal kid -  March 7, 2016 - 10:50 am

    Actually i think that different from, has a root of something that you can compare i.e history of an object or a person where it started…then different than, you comparing something lesser than the other i.e this house is bigger than the car!

    • babadu cato -  March 14, 2016 - 2:19 pm

      the ebglish influenced the African dialect enough that using the bastardised vernacular is demeaning!

  16. Royal kid -  March 7, 2016 - 10:27 am

    Ill stick to both coz im african!

  17. Michèle -  March 2, 2016 - 9:30 pm

    Lately, a certain candy has been advertising that their product is “unexplainably” juicy. I cringe every time I hear it. I don’t believe that this is a real word! Isn’t the correct word for this “inexplicably”?

    Can you — the experts at dictionary.com — clear this up for me?

    • Jacquelyn Hyde -  March 4, 2016 - 1:37 pm

      Advertising doesn’t use English; it uses Advertising, a second-order language, rather as is American. Advertisers invent words and phrases, often meaningless. Consider, wtf does ‘zingy’ mean? (It was used way back to promote a drink.)
      I could go on but the chances are that the ad agency thought that few people would know ‘inexplicably’, yet the meaning of the other, ostensibly silly word, is obvious even to the idiots, the lowest echelon, to whom the product is also aimed. Make sense?

      • Denise G. -  March 8, 2016 - 2:39 pm

        I just love you “guys” =;)

        • babadu cato -  March 14, 2016 - 2:24 pm

          luv u 2 gf.

      • Sky the Hedgehog -  March 8, 2016 - 5:47 pm

        I will use inexplicably instead of unexplainably

        • Dorothy -  July 27, 2016 - 11:57 pm

          Chris Roberts, how right you are!

        • Dorothy -  July 28, 2016 - 12:01 am

          Me, too. I don’t believe “unexplainably” is a word.

      • TheBO$$_cj -  March 9, 2016 - 6:43 am

        that make sense

      • Audrey MacDonald -  March 10, 2016 - 10:51 am

        Then there is the inescapable result that if all the lowest echelon ever hears is silly words, they may never elevate their knowledge and forever sound ignorant and uneducated.

        This has become apparent in recent times with the adoption of the phrase “that is so fun” in place of “so much fun” or, “that is such fun”. It makes me cringe every time I hear it.

        This began with its use by a person who either was too lazy to learn to express themselves properly and who blindly copied what someone else said or just had poor education in the first place.

        Unfortunately, it often escalates to the point where the person may make four or five starts but can never complete a full sentence. How frustrating for the listener too.

        • babadu cato -  March 14, 2016 - 2:28 pm

          far too many exhibit laziness in learning anf practibing propoer language, and eeventually “it’s all the same”m to their ears. Discrimination is dulled.

        • Victor -  April 21, 2016 - 12:09 pm

          “they may never elevate their knowledge and forever sound ignorant and uneducated.”

          At least I’ll only forever sound ignorant and uneducated to pompous pricks as I preferably spend my time elevating my knowledge in biology and quantum mechanics.

        • Swaranjeet -  April 30, 2016 - 7:44 pm

          I agree.

          The fault also lies in the education system. The stress on languages in the primary and middle school education (particularly the latter) is nothing compared with what it used to be. Education is being viewed purely as a means to a career and languages are not considered a field for a career – not in my country (India) at least. It is ‘just a means to communicate) so as long as what you say is understood, it will do. Correct spellings and nuanced differences between words and phrases are considered old-fashioned, obsolete and worthless.

          The complete meaning of the word ‘education’ has changed.

          • bookbeater -  May 21, 2016 - 1:34 pm

            the most eloquent speaker i ever listened to was an indian woman who gave a speech regarding the water shortage in her country.
            polysyllabic words fell like rain from her tongue and she never stumbled over tense or tempo.
            i think she may argue well that language can be a career.

        • Dorothy -  July 28, 2016 - 12:07 am

          I, too, cringe when I hear, “so fun” when the correct phrase is, “so much fun”.

    • Jeff -  March 7, 2016 - 5:10 am


      Indeed, “inexplicably” would be the right word here, were it not advertising.

      By using very unusual or made-up word, advertisers hope to make their advertisements easier to remember, or (equivalently) harder to forget. Apparently, it worked, in your case.

      Also, “inexplicable” is a word that people whose English is poor (including many Americans) will not know, while every reader will grasp “unexplainably,” correct or not.

      So, there are two reasons to prefer “unexplainably” in the advertisement.

      On a related note, marketers also commonly make up words (or spelling) so they can copyright them (one cannot copyright a single, real, English word).

    • babadu cato -  March 14, 2016 - 2:22 pm

      I’m with you; “inexplicably” sounds more collegiate, thoighit doesn’t tempt ne kmore to indulge in candy.

    • Victor -  April 21, 2016 - 12:20 pm

      One of the qualities that makes English so beautiful is its ability to easily synthesize new words.

      Rather than dogmatically treating your dictionary like sacred text, you are open to so much more by treating English “rules” like guides rather than boundaries.

  18. bob -  March 1, 2016 - 9:43 am

    no diffrence

    • babadu cato -  March 14, 2016 - 2:40 pm

      the differebce is: one is a word and the other is not.

  19. Patricia -  February 29, 2016 - 5:01 pm

    Both different from and different than are accepted in standard American English, and both have been in use for the last 300 years. But is one of these phrases more correct than the other?
    In formal writing, different from is generally preferred to different than. This preference has to do, in part, with the historical use of the word than. This term entered English as a conjunction often used with comparative adjectives, such as better, taller, shorter, warmer, lesser, and more, to introduce the second element in a comparison. Different is not a comparative adjective. Thus, when different than first started appearing in English, it sounded grating or less natural to discerning ears.
    From has been used with the verb differ since at least the 1500s, which paved the way for different from to be readily accepted into the lexicon. William Shakespeare used different from in The Comedy of Errors: “This week he hath been heavy, sour, sad, / And much different from the man he was…” Other pairings have popped up over the years, including different against, but different from and different than remain the two most useful among English speakers. Different than is common in American English, but might sound strange to British ears, and in the UK, different to is a common alternative that is seldom used in the US.
    When in doubt, stick with different from. However, note that there is a time and place for different than. When what follows is a clause, than can be the more elegant choice: My grandmother looks different than I remember. From works best when what follows is a noun or noun phrase: My grandmother looks different from that old photograph of her.

    • briannavictoria -  March 2, 2016 - 1:04 pm


    • Dottie -  March 24, 2016 - 7:51 pm

      Different “from” what I remember

  20. Fansena -  January 10, 2016 - 1:32 pm

    Te amelsa fowe rre faan galaa omo go foopeh seta?

  21. Sophia B -  January 8, 2016 - 6:03 pm

    Happy Birthday Michael!!!!!!

  22. Sup!!! -  January 8, 2016 - 6:01 pm


  23. Sophia B -  January 8, 2016 - 5:59 pm

    So Many People. 70 to be correct.

  24. Word lover -  December 11, 2015 - 2:11 pm

    More correct? Is that possible?

    • Ron -  March 3, 2016 - 4:07 pm

      No, I think it should be “correcter” or “less wrong”.

      • al -  March 4, 2016 - 8:14 pm

        I would agree with Ron… “less wrong” sounds MORE CORRECT if you will. Then I’ve been bitten by what SOUNDS right before.

      • Sky the Hedgehog -  March 8, 2016 - 5:49 pm


        • Dorothy -  July 27, 2016 - 11:24 pm

          If something is correct, that’s final. “Correcter” is not a word.

    • babadu cato -  March 14, 2016 - 2:37 pm

      definitelly! My mother had more than four younger sisters:Hazel die as an infant, then were born Beverly, Mary, Bettie, and Audrie… five is more correct.

  25. chris -  December 2, 2015 - 4:31 pm


    • Sophia B -  January 8, 2016 - 6:04 pm


      • TheBO$$_cj -  March 9, 2016 - 6:44 am

        wat up

    • Rayna Dudley -  February 29, 2016 - 4:56 pm


    • Agreeable person -  March 1, 2016 - 3:14 pm


  26. Patrick Jones -  November 25, 2015 - 9:29 am

    this website is so bad I looked up contribution and it said the act of contributing like what is that. We need to do something about this. It says that for like everything there is no way the acual dictionary says that this is so stupid.

    • Monica Krasniak -  November 26, 2015 - 9:44 pm

      Differences are the causes for problems world wide & they are easy to see, hear, speak, motion, feel, act and understanding them is where trouble begins because there are so many. It’s totally upsetting because we have intelligent leaders who just don’t know. And even I learned that 100 – 99 = 1.
      One is better than none, right? Of course…

      • Chris Roberts -  December 6, 2015 - 8:57 pm

        Monica, Could you please elaborate. “Understanding them (differences) is where the trouble begins”. I thought understanding was the answer, that is where tolerance begins, because yes, “there are so many”.And “one” what, is better than none? One car, yes. One foot, yes. One finger in the eye, no.

      • Tyrese Treman -  December 7, 2015 - 8:52 am

        You know what they say one is the loneliest number. As for our intelligent leaders uhhhh no. Our leaders are why the problems started because of the differences they had with other countries. Their differences turned into arguments, then arguments turned into conflict, and conflict turned into war. Not to be a dick but our leaders aren’t that smart. The government is greedy, and our president is letting people from a country that we went to war with and are known for their terrorism into the U.S.A. Now look what’s happening.

        • t -  March 4, 2016 - 1:05 pm

          Yes, it is. Is 100% not 1% more correct than 99%?

        • The Man -  March 4, 2016 - 1:12 pm

          I love what your president is trying to do, but recall that he’s a Muslim, which is a very strong religion. Also beware that these people are bent on world domination, as they always were.

    • chris -  December 2, 2015 - 4:36 pm

      Wow! Just… …. … … … … wow!!! (happy!!!!!!)

    • Lamar Gary -  March 6, 2016 - 2:04 pm

      That is why it is a noun and not a verb. You must then look up the word contribute, like we did with book dictionaries back when we were in school.

    • Edmo -  May 15, 2016 - 11:53 am

      It’s the noun form of the verb ‘contribute.’ -TION is a suffix to the root CONTRIBUTE (a verb) which makes it a noun (CONTRIBUTION). If you simply click on the hyperlink that is in the actual definition of contribution, it will lead you to the root word and it’s meaning. This is actually a fantastic online dictionary (and mobile app), and I often recommend it to students. I hope you learn to navigate the site, and that it becomes a useful tool for you.

  27. makayla -  November 16, 2015 - 6:38 am

    i usually use both words but mostly different from. but is some sentences and books it means the same……..dont you think

    • guy -  November 21, 2015 - 6:05 pm


      • guy -  November 21, 2015 - 6:05 pm

        i dunno

    • Rhonda -  November 23, 2015 - 8:27 am

      It could mean the same thing depending on how you use it!

      • Monica Krasniak -  November 26, 2015 - 9:47 pm

        Correct, depending…

    • Tyrese Treman -  December 7, 2015 - 8:53 am

      Yes. Yes it is.

    • Dorothy -  July 27, 2016 - 11:31 pm

      It’s always “different from”, never “different than”.

  28. Thuto Segano -  November 15, 2015 - 6:10 am

    In time or on time which one is correct?

    • Rhonda -  November 23, 2015 - 8:28 am

      Those are two totally different words

      • Monica Krasniak -  November 26, 2015 - 10:03 pm

        Same words with changed meanings. Depends

    • Monica Krasniak -  November 26, 2015 - 10:00 pm

      In time for or on time(meaning acceptable)

    • Chris Roberts -  December 6, 2015 - 9:00 pm

      I made it in time to catch the first inning. It really bothers me when I am not on time at work.

      • Dottie -  March 24, 2016 - 7:45 pm

        More “correct” not “correcter”

      • Dottie -  March 24, 2016 - 7:46 pm

        Very good, Chris!

    • Word lover -  December 11, 2015 - 1:22 pm

      2 different meanings

  29. Thuto Segano -  November 15, 2015 - 6:08 am

    In time or on time

    • Inigo Montoya -  November 17, 2015 - 12:14 pm

      On time

      • Mark -  November 20, 2015 - 7:24 am

        Either is correct depending on the context. Usually on time means at the appointed hour. While in time means not late.

        • Lig -  December 23, 2015 - 6:24 pm

          I agree. I know the correct usage, but I don’t know how to express on how to use it.

    • James -  November 18, 2015 - 11:23 am

      in time : early ex. Students must come in time in order net to miss the beginning of the lesson.
      on time: at the exact time ex. He was just on time for the meeting.

      • Word lover -  December 11, 2015 - 1:42 pm

        I think your second example sounds a little off ( to my “American” ear). I would say either ” He was on time for the meeting.” or. “He made it just in time for the meeting.” . Putting the word “just” in front of “on time” is grating to my ear for some reason. I’m not saying that you are wrong, I have just never heard it used in that manner. I would totally understand what someone was trying to say if whilst speaking they emphasized the word “just”. May it just looks strange in written word. I like this site, it makes me think a lot!!!

        • John Kelly -  March 1, 2016 - 1:50 pm

          “He made it just in time for the meeting.” . Putting the word “just” in front of “on time” is grating to my ear for some reason.

          Word lover!
          The contextual difference here is a matter of urgency as-opposed to precision. To be just “in-time” implies a strict timeframe to be adhered to.
          “He caught the bus just in time!”
          To be just “on-time” implies a deadline that has been met.
          “He made the appointment just on time!”
          That said, I have to admit that the usage of “just-on” is becoming ever-rarer in written communications. It is however, still a fairly common pattern of speech here in the UK.

        • Joseph -  March 6, 2016 - 7:14 am

          I agree that “On time” as opposed to “In time” might rely on the context. When speaking in anticipation that implies arriving within a specific time frame, or perhaps before the end of a proper time frame ordinarily linked with an event would call for “in time.” In the context of arriving according to expectations, “on time” is called for. Uncertainty of arrival time within a time frame, as well as pertaining to the uncertainty of arrival very near the end of a time frame (if at all) calls for “in time.”

      • Jessica Rico -  December 12, 2015 - 6:07 am

        Well said

    • Julian -  March 8, 2016 - 7:56 am

      I arrived at the station just in time to board the train, which was on time.

  30. Thuto Segano -  November 15, 2015 - 6:02 am

    Different Than. New to me but makes sense depending on the context.

  31. Houssein -  November 15, 2015 - 1:25 am

    the use of these, depend on the context you are using them, this is why the understanding of english grammar is very important to avoid common mistakes.

    • Chris Roberts -  December 6, 2015 - 9:01 pm

      Nice sir.

  32. Will -  November 13, 2015 - 2:24 am

    In your last example “my grandmother is different than I remembered,” ‘than’ works because there is an implied comparison between how Grandmother looked earlier and now. And as you write, ‘than’ is used comparatively. ‘From’ requires a clause to complete it – “different from what I remembered–you cannot write “my grandmother is different what I remembered.”

    • Jacquelyn Hyde -  March 4, 2016 - 1:51 pm

      Will.13.11.15 “…you cannot write “my grandmother is different what I remembered.””
      Neither can you write “my grandmother is different than I remembered,”. Well, of course you can, but you’d be hugely wrong.
      This Dictionary.com article was, as usual, generally good and carefully-written. It was spoiled only by the last paragraph:
      “When in doubt, stick with different from.”
      Yup, that’s okay.
      “However, note that there is a time and place for different than.”
      That’s okay too.
      “From works best when what follows is a noun or noun phrase: My grandmother looks different from that old photograph of her.”
      And so is that.
      “When what follows is a clause, than can be the more elegant choice:”
      So far, still so good. However, their “My grandmother looks different than I remember.” is both logically & grammatically incorrect. It is shorthand for, e.g. “My grandmother looks different from the way I remember her.”
      ‘Different than’ is a second-order comparator, therefore it requires further qualification. An example is, “My grandmother looks (either) more, or less, different than I remember (her).”

      Perhaps that crit will cause you, and Dictionary.com, to think further on this matter?

      Jacquelyn Hyde.

      • pagal -  March 14, 2016 - 5:58 pm

        do that’s cool

      • Jason -  March 17, 2016 - 10:48 am

        If you don’t see fit to think about uses of “than” other ____ when used with adjectives, perhaps you should turn to introspection rather ______ suggest usage advice. Or maybe I should say “more rather than suggest usage advice”, per your crit.

      • Keith Anker -  April 20, 2016 - 11:50 pm

        Nice one!

    • writer? -  March 8, 2016 - 3:16 pm

      You can say,” My grandmother is different from (how) I remembered (her).”

      I think that the reason for much indecisiveness and confusion in sentence construction is because extra words are needed in the sentence to be grammatically correct. However, through common usage, people have dropped some of them. People use a lot of ellipsis.

  33. Tinika -  November 10, 2015 - 4:40 am

    Am I using them right in these 2 examples?
    Eg. 1.)
    Did Me Not “failing” turn out 2 be a lil different FROM ur earlier notions of me.
    (This way is more 4 comparison)

    Eg. 2.)
    I’ve always had a problem bucz ive Always been “different from” the rest.
    (This way is meant 2 set apart)

    At least… I think my words r correct.
    Lemme go check!

    • Tinika -  November 10, 2015 - 4:43 am

      Eg. 1. ) THAN

      Eg. 2.) From

      I gotta get some sleep!! ;-) lol

      • brandon -  November 14, 2015 - 9:55 am


      • makayla -  November 16, 2015 - 6:39 am


      • Lig -  December 23, 2015 - 6:31 pm

        Yeah, you better sleep now. Your language is starting like a cell phone text language (i.e. 4 u, bcz, b4. . . etc) . . . :-)

      • Lig -  December 23, 2015 - 6:39 pm

        Yeah, you better get some sleep now, good sleep – because your language is now like a cell phone text message like 4u, bcz, b4, lil – you’re shortening. Whereas, there are some words that you’re combining two words into one but misspelled like lemme go (let me go). I think I gotta get some sleep too. I’m confused with you . . . :-) !#$%^&*(

    • Sloopy -  November 11, 2015 - 2:02 pm

      I believe that your examples(as you corrected them) are correct. In the first example you are comparing, and in the second you are setting apart. However, I am not being unkind, but when you ask your question using texting abbreviations and substitutions, it becomes very difficult to understand. Essentially, you are attempting to compare apples and oranges. It is really hard to apply the rules of good grammar and writing to the abbreviated forms of texting. I teach and have to remind students all the time that when writing (for example, a work document) the rules of standard grammar apply. There is a logical reason for this: much of what one writes using texting shorthand can have any number of different meanings, often depending not only on context, but also upon the individual with whom one is texting. You would not want to be unclear about meaning in a piece of writing for work or professional use.
      Rules of grammar are not there to mess with your mind, they are intended to help make communication both clear and uniform. (Although I know sometimes it does seem as if they are there just to mess with you!)

      • Tinika -  November 15, 2015 - 9:14 pm

        I thank you for your confirmation as well as your correction.
        You are indeed correct!
        In my rush to get my response out, coupled with my slight attitude at that time and the decreasing need for me to compose a formal letter/document, I did just that. Text speak, tacky as it is, seems to be the majority of my writing these days. However, now that it has been brought to my attention, I will be sure to be more aware in that area.
        Should we cross paths again and you find any components /extentions of me not up to par… please feel free to assist me in getting there!
        I welcome constructive criticism and growth.
        Again, I thank u for caring enough to take the time out to better me.
        (Without Wax)

        • Bill -  November 21, 2015 - 7:02 am


        • Word lover -  December 11, 2015 - 1:52 pm

          *laughing out loud* You did it again! You wrote “u” instead of “you”! I’m not criticizing you in the least, I thought it was cute! That is so easy to do now a days! I find myself doing it in emails I send to my 75 year old Mum!

      • Jacquelyn Hyde -  March 4, 2016 - 1:54 pm

        Yeah, good one, Sloopy.

    • J -  November 19, 2015 - 11:28 am

      That is what sounds best in my opinion. (I’m from the US)

    • mekeashanea -  November 24, 2015 - 2:11 am

      In America it is frowned upon when you write the way you talk in person. It is considered “slang”.

      Thus, you should not start the sentence with “Did I Not”. It READS and implies slang. Basically, it don’t sound right (pun intended).

      Since I didn’t fail, has your notions of/about me change?

      Ijs what I’ve been taught in America Public Schools and Universities. Hope this is helpful, if I am incorrect than ignore and proceed to TALK HOW YOU PLEASE BECAUSE YOU CAN IN AMERICA! :-) #ProudBlackAmerican #ParisPeace! #AcceptEaOthaNotFriendsRequest!

      • mekeashanea -  November 24, 2015 - 2:19 am

        Since I didn’t fail, has your notions of/about me CHANGED?

        It is a past tense question which is indicated by placing a D or ED at the end of the verb (change = changed)

        My apologies. I’m multi tasking and typing.

        Side-Convo: Has anyone invited ” a grammer app” that can be used on ALL CELL DEVICES? Everyone is aware they are no longer CELL PHONES RIGHT? I’m an “80′s baby” with a “Millineal” teen and technology has went BEYOND ADVANCING THE 80s cell phone. I digress

        • John Kelly -  March 1, 2016 - 1:34 pm

          Ahhh, Mekeashanea… you young 80′s babies! So sweet and innocent! So accepting of each other and so swift in this modern age of “be there” “do that” and “heaven help that doddering old fogie at the back of the queue!
          Ah, for the good old days when “Telephones” were screwed to a wall! How I miss turning that little handle to call the operator!
          Ahem! But to the business at-hand!
          “Has anyone invited ” a grammer app”” ???
          Perhaps one should inVENT a spelling app first, only then search for a grammar app?
          And I have no idea how one would invite such a creation.
          You have a millennial teen? Goodness gracious, you poor dear! Have it excised as soon as possible… there is no other cure! As for myself? Well, if YOU are struggling with the never-ending rate of progress in this ever-changing modern world then who will take pity on a fifty’s dropout such as Moi!
          When I say fifty’s dropout; naturally I mean that I debouched into this sad and cruel world during the early 1950′s… not that I dropped-out during them or took up parachuting at that tender age!
          Thank you for your endurance and indulgence!
          Have a wonderful day and don’t let the tribulations of modern life wear you down. An old-fashioned cell phone does me just fine… I never speak to people anyway!

        • CStone -  March 5, 2016 - 9:21 pm

          “notions” is plural ; use “have” (not “has”) changed – in the sentence.

      • Chris Roberts -  December 6, 2015 - 9:07 pm

        Are they not like, the worst. Farout Mekeashanea, farout. At least somebody gets it. lol

      • Keith Anker -  April 20, 2016 - 11:33 pm

        “Did I not” is considered good English in the British Commonwealth ! It is very far from being slang.

      • Keith Anker -  April 20, 2016 - 11:48 pm

        One of my colleagues used to quote his Latin master, who would often say “Now in the school yard, you would say … ” (It would almost certainly include slang, and probably vulgarisms) — “but for examination purposes you must translate it thus: … ” (a formal expression).
        (Now, have I punctuated that appropriately/correctly?)

    • Dottie -  March 24, 2016 - 7:49 pm

      Did “my” not failing

  34. Soup -  November 9, 2015 - 12:58 pm

    What word do the least amount of people know

    • Anna -  November 11, 2015 - 12:41 pm


      • Jacquelyn Hyde -  March 4, 2016 - 2:02 pm

        Yeah, good try, Anna.

    • Jacquelyn Hyde -  March 4, 2016 - 2:01 pm

      Gundersplatt. That’s the word!
      Listen to Bob Newhart’s explanation of the infinite number of monkeys theory. You may enjoy it. If you can find it.

    • Keith Anker -  April 20, 2016 - 11:37 pm

      ” least amount of people”! “amount” should be used for measurement, e.g., for time, liquid measure, weight, distance; rather than for counting:
      continuous vs discrete data. Try “least number”, or “fewest”.

  35. Soup -  November 9, 2015 - 12:56 pm

    I go with plane out different

    • Anna -  November 11, 2015 - 12:42 pm

      plane / plain what’s the difference… LOL

    • Sloopy -  November 11, 2015 - 1:45 pm

      I think it’s terrific that people are interested in understanding these grammatical distinctions, and I applaud that interest. However, correct spelling is also important for good communication. You said:”I go with plane out different.” You mean:”plain,” as in simply different, not “plane,” as in airplane

      • JMan113 -  November 17, 2015 - 5:30 pm

        Plane could also mean a mathematical plane. Such as the coordinates in a minecraft world. the coordinates are based on the X, Y, Z planes.

  36. Tom -  November 9, 2015 - 10:47 am

    Wow, I actually can’t believe that “different than” is an accepted usage. One would never say “I am awesome than you.” More or less awesome? In fact, the two sentences “He is different from her,” and “He is more different than her,” are entirely unequal. The former is relating the two people, but the latter is comparing their difference, in relation to a third entity.

    • Gen -  November 10, 2015 - 4:02 pm

      @Tom That’s not really an acceptable comparison, because you would not say “I am awesome from you” either. Context is extremely important to the English language. Applying the same context to a different verb while also using the same conjunction seldom ever will behave the same way. The same logic applies to your second analogy where you use the word “more.” “He is different than her.” is completely acceptable, yet you add the word “more” because you assume the way you used “different” and “awesome” are to be identical.

      • Barb J -  November 13, 2015 - 7:55 pm

        ” than” is used only when introducing a clause.
        ” from” is used only when introducing a noun, a pronoun, a gerund or a noun clause.

        “Different than” is really incorrect English and should not be used at all.
        “Than” is used only with a comparative adjective (kinder, more attractive, etc.).
        The word following “than” is the subject of the clause which is not completed as it is understood.
        Sarah is kinder than her sister (than her sister is kind).
        If a pronoun is used with “than” it should be the subject pronoun.
        Peter is taller than I (not “than me”).

        Paris is different from London (noun)
        Maria’s dress is different from mine. (pronoun)
        Speaking a language is different from reading it. (gerund)
        What you wrote is different from what I said. (noun clause)

        OK, OK.So I used to teach grammar and know formal English grammar. I also know that these “rules” are frequently not followed. I’ve tried to explain this grammatical point for those who are interested. Those who aren’t can do as they wish. The language is not static – always changing.

        • Chris Roberts -  December 6, 2015 - 9:10 pm

          Look at the big brain on Barb J.

          • Ingeborg -  March 2, 2016 - 3:19 pm

            Wow Chris Roberts, you’ve written a sentence without the word “like”! Well done!

        • Word lover -  December 11, 2015 - 2:10 pm

          Well done Barb J, well done!

        • BobH -  March 7, 2016 - 6:14 pm

          I am impressed.

    • tay -  January 10, 2016 - 1:28 pm

      Total non-smarts. ;P

      • Fat-man (bat-man -  January 10, 2016 - 1:29 pm


  37. Noel -  November 7, 2015 - 9:06 am

    Interesting and informative. I have often wondered which is more “correct”.

    However, what about “Different to”?? as in “This situation is different to that”?

    • Peter Mackinlay -  November 10, 2015 - 10:30 pm

      Roger that! An ant is different to a spider.

    • Word lover -  December 11, 2015 - 2:44 pm

      “more correct” —- You might want to rethink using that in a sentence. I’m not trying to be rude, just helpful. I can tell you are here to better yourself, (as am I!!!) so that is the only reason I pointed it out. I

    • Jacquelyn Hyde -  March 4, 2016 - 2:34 pm

      Noel – 7.11.15
      “…I have often wondered which is more “correct”.
      …what about “Different to”?? as in “This situation is different to that”?”

      Right, Noel.
      ‘Different than’ is used by partly-educated Americans, who learn via memes rather than by listening and thinking, and they learn from their partly educated American friends, not their teachers.
      ‘Different to’ is used by the partly-educated English, ditto. Most of these seem to find their way into media jobs.
      They are equally wrong.


      Oh, and btw ignore those who ‘correct’ you on your ‘more “correct”’. Correct is relative, not absolute.


  38. Thomas VanAllen -  November 7, 2015 - 7:49 am

    Who makes the decision as to the transliteration of a foreign name or word? For example, I find the use of the letter “X” in many Chinese names very confusing since it can be an “S” sound or a “Z” sound, or a “CH” sound in English. Is there one person or group of persons who makes this decision?

    • Grayson(10 yrs old) -  November 13, 2015 - 3:30 am

      In Chinese, the characters would be different, and the X pronunciation changes according to the Chinese pronunciation. As to your question, I believe they substitute the S, Z, or CH sound with an X because it is probably in Chinese that there is one symbol for the three sounds, so they transfer the X into there name because of tradition. This is my guess.

    • S K -  November 15, 2015 - 3:19 pm

      The letter “X” in (Mandarin) Chinese is not a transliteration but an official phonetic system (see “Pinyin” in Wikipedia). So yes, in this case there is an official group approving this.

      There are many non-official transcription systems and transliterations as well, which may still be in use in names of persons, street signs, etc.

    • Hercules -  November 16, 2015 - 7:27 am

      I had the same question myself when I was trying to learn Chinese. It seems that in Chinese pinyin, the “x” is something between a “ssss” and a “sh” sound. That’s why they write “xiexie” (thank you) and they say “ssshee-’eh ssshee-’eh”. Hope I helped -not obfuscated things more.

      • abbykimchi -  January 11, 2016 - 1:48 pm

        my sister had to learn Chinese because she was gonna go on a trip to Taiwan. it’s really complicated to me.

  39. patricia smmith -  November 6, 2015 - 9:47 pm

    Do you mean “more NEARLY correct”?

  40. David -  November 6, 2015 - 7:03 am

    just really depends on the person and the context in which he/she/it is using the words. Some people are different than others mentally but they are not that different from us physically…… lol

    • K220 -  November 9, 2015 - 12:39 pm

      Yeah, but some people are different from others mentally but they are not that different than us physically.

  41. Raven -  November 5, 2015 - 1:55 pm

    I never knew that I’ve used both of them before, correctly, and didn’t even know it.

  42. Maria Moseley -  November 5, 2015 - 12:09 am

    I will not use “different than. “. To my ear it sounds wrong.

    • bobby sesino (manavex) -  November 13, 2015 - 12:00 am

      same here dear, “from” is the correct word here, that “than” is no where to be found….. (teach me something else)

      • Michael -  December 2, 2015 - 12:27 pm

        today is my birthday

        • Dallas -  December 18, 2015 - 10:07 am

          Well Happybirthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Sophia B -  January 8, 2016 - 6:00 pm

          Happy Birthday!


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