Word Choice – Different From Versus Different Than

BizWritingTip reader: “I often hear people make the following statement: ‘This one is different than that one.’ I think it should be ‘from’ and not ‘than.’ Please clarify this when you can.”

BizWritingTip response: You are correct. Different from is the way to contrast two items.

My findings are different from hers.
Vancouver is different from Montreal.
This one is different from that one.

In most cases, different from is correct and different than is not. However, there is an exception.

Different than is acceptable when an elliptical clause is involved. (An elliptical clause is an expression that has key words omitted because they will be obvious to the reader.)

I interpreted the message in a different way than you. (This sentence could also be written as “I interpreted the message in a different way from the way you interpreted it.”)

If you think this is confusing, stick with different from. There is more likelihood of your being correct.