Friday, August 1, 2014

Different From vs. Different Than: Grammar and International Relations

Gaza war: The terrifying truth - by Aaron David Miller, CNN:
Aaron David Miller is a vice president and distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and was a Middle East negotiator in Democratic and Republican administrations.  ...
(CNN) -- By now it should be painfully obvious that this latest round of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis in Gaza is fundamentally different than its predecessors.

From (a remarkably clear, unpretentious internet grammar guide, despite the irrelevant commercial links cited in some of its entries):
Different From vs. Different Than
Different from is the standard phrase. Most scholars obstinately avoid different than, especially in simple comparisons, such as You are different from me.
However, some of the experts are more tolerant of different than, pointing out that the phrase has been in use for centuries, and has been written by numerous accomplished authors. ...
They may have a point, but many fine writers have had no problem steering clear of different than for their entire careers.
As for yours truly, the author of this blog (who always struggles with the English language), I would never say to someone I love, "you are different than me, and that's why I love you. I'd say, you are different from me."

But then I guess Israel and Hamas are not exactly in love, which may explain why the distinguished Woodrow Wilson International Center scholar used  "than" rather than "from" after "different."

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