Different from vs. Different than vs. Different to


Different from = Standard phrase, the most common of the three; used in simple comparisons both in US and UK English


There’s not much difference in sense between the three expressions, and all of these have been used by eminent writers.

What actually happened was totally different from what the police gave their version.

Now it has become an established fact that this administration is different from previous administrations.

His latest novel is different from (any of) his previous novels (that he’s written).

He is one of the best attorneys on the job that I know and one wonders what makes him so different from his predecessors.

Jack gambled away all of his father’s savings and this day would be no different from all the others.

This plant grown in the tropical climate is going to be different from one grown in the temperate climate.


Different than = (mainly US) Not ungrammatical, but purists avoid it though there’s no real justification for it. Those in favour of different than argue that a sentence like It is no different for Congressmen than it is for Senators is OK by all means and rephrasing it to It is no different for Congressmen from the way it is for Senators’ looks clumsy and ill-chosen.

He looked different in this movie than he did in his last.

She didn’t look much different than when she was in her thirties.

Cameron Boyce certainly wants to look different than his co-stars in his latest movie.

Pamela wanted to do something different than her friends on Thanksgiving Day.

These chocolates taste very different than the ones the kids usually take from supermarket. (or … very different from/to the ones the kids usually take)

His get-up with a pinstriped suit and narrow tie is different now than before he went to Hong Kong. (or … different now from before he went to Hong Kong.)


Different to = Limited to British English (much more common in British English than American English)

The Ragged School Museum with respect to decorative arts and design is no different to any other major museum.

Despite having worn the same clothes, Christina looked so different to/from her twin sister.

When it comes to the corruption, the ruling party is no different to any of its predecessors.

A good stand-up comedian gets into your brain in a manner quite different to a comic book.


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