Date: Thu, 23 Feb 1995 09:36:11 -0600


Subject: Re: "different than"

A general query:

Can anyone provide a chronology of "different than" in American English?

I have observed it to be highly geographical and chronological: few

over 50, at least in the mid-Atlantic, and fewer Southerners yet would

say anything but "different from," on the model of the verbal expression

"this differs from that."

I thought James Baldwin's "Go Tell It On The Mountain" (1950?)

contained the earliest printed mention of "different than" but later

found an earlier work, whose name I can't remember.

Can anyone shed some light? --Cathy Bodin cbodin[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

Webster's Dictionary of English Usage has a 1644 cite for different than.

Different to is earliests. Different from is in the middle. The

discussion of different than does not suggest the pattern above, but of

course they're talking about written texts, not spoken ones. It seems to

me that different from is rare in the Midwest in all contexts.



Dennis Baron debaron[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

Department of English office: 217-333-2392

University of Illinois fax: 217-333-4321

608 South Wright Street home: 217-384-1683

Urbana, Illinois 61801