Last time I heard some interviewee say ‘different than’ I threw the radio across the room,narrowly missing the cat. So for the sake of the cat’s physical health, not to say her sanity, I am reduced to screeching ‘different from’ at the top of my voice. Which does nothing for my throat. This is England for goodness sake. ‘Different than’ is an Americanism. It has no place here.
I’m happy to see that that excellent blogger ‘Pain in the English’ has posted on the subject. Of course, as he says, there are grey areas and differences of opinion. But, when used as a comparison, the expression is ‘different from’ or even on occasion ‘different to’ but not ‘different than.’ It’s just not right.
I know there are a few, very rare and vey specialised, instances where the ‘from’ might just be permissible, but what irritates me is that 99.9% if the people using the expression have absolutely no knowledge of the rules that might allow this. They are just following the herd – or even the ‘heard’ for it’s more than likely they have picked up the expression on the radio or TV. For more fascinating discussions on this and other facets of the English language, have a look at Pain in the English.