Date: Thu, 23 Feb 1995 09:36:11 -0600
From: debaron[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UIUC.EDU
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]msmary.edu
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]uiuc.edu
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