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  • My karma after spending time with a grammar stickler is this website
    by Account Closed at 22:05 on 31 May 2013
    After spending part of the day yesterday with two people - both lovely - who mock the use of the split infinitive and, goodness forbid, the difference between different from and different to.

    "They're guidelines," I said. [Thanks, Emma] "And can be broken if you know why you are doing so."

    "Well, of course they say that nowadays," said one of them.

    So, courtesy of Oxford Dictionaries:

    Different from, different than, different to:
    Some people criticize different than as incorrect but thereís no real justification for this view. Thereís little difference in sense between the three expressions, and all of them are used by respected writers.


    Split-infinitives:
    ...thereís no real justification for their objection, which is based on comparisons with the structure of Latin. People have been splitting infinitives for centuries, especially in spoken English, and avoiding a split infinitive can sound clumsy. It can also change the emphasis of whatís being said.

    But goes on to say:
    As a result, itís safest to avoid split infinitives in formal writing, unless the alternative wording seems very clumsy or would alter the meaning of your sentence.



    How refreshing. I'm sticking with this website.

    http://oxforddictionaries.com/words/grammar

    <Added>

    Eek, the 'goes on to say' refers to formal writing, the meaning of which I lost in my editing. Sorry.
  • Re: My karma after spending time with a grammar stickler is this website
    by EmmaD at 22:19 on 31 May 2013
    People have been splitting infinitives for centuries, especially in spoken English, and avoiding a split infinitive can sound clumsy


    Hear hear!

    Thereís little difference in sense between the three expressions, and all of them are used by respected writers.


    Yes. The conviction that it should be "different from" also has its roots in Latin - because, apparently, it comes from "ferro" - to carry - as in, "carry away".

    But there are occasionally contexts where you want "different", but "from" sounds daft, and "to" makes much more sense.

    I wouldn't myself use "different than" because there's a comparative built into "than" which doesn't work with "different".
  • Re: My karma after spending time with a grammar stickler is this website
    by Account Closed at 22:39 on 31 May 2013
    I wouldn't myself use "different than" because there's a comparative built into "than" which doesn't work with "different".


    Often, I wish my secondary education had been better as most of my grammar learning has taken place in the past five years, since I became serious about my writing. However, as I don't use 'different than' - a mainly US expression - I won't worry too much.

  • Re: My karma after spending time with a grammar stickler is this website
    by EmmaD at 10:38 on 01 June 2013
    I wish my secondary education had been better


    I don't think secondary education teaches you that sort of thing - I got very little English grammar at school, beyond primary stuff.

    Most of what I know about such stuff comes from having a father whose hobby was etymology, and an English teacher for a mother, so it's very haphazard.

    But once you're interested, as you say, you start to pick things up, and once that's happening, more and more slots in.
  • Re: My karma after spending time with a grammar stickler is this website
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