Hearing someone say that one thing is "different to" another thing is a dead giveaway that they're using British English and not US English.

In such comparisons, we're usually determining whether two things are different or similar. We may also be looking for ways in which they are different or similar. "Different" and "similar" are opposites, just as "old" and "new", "yes" and "no", "in" and "out" are opposites. We might even say "in to" (or "into") and "out of": "Dan walked into the school just as Sherry walked out of the administrator's office." No one says "in of" or "out to" unless Dan ran from the school out to his car, which could be said as, "Dan ran out of the school to his car."

"To" and "from" are opposites. Dan ran from the school to the car. "To" and "from" can be directional; they define a starting point and an end point. An origin and a destination. Dan's origin or starting point is the school; his destination or ending point is the car.

It's correct to say that red is different from blue or that beige is similar to khaki. These are word pairs that carry opposite meanings.

Since "different" and "similar" are inarguably opposites, and "from" and "to" are clearly opposites, it follows that "different from" and "similar to" are the correct constructs in usage. By what logic would one use "similar to" and "different to"? It appears that saying "different to" clearly muddies the waters.

If you insist on using "to" with "different" it should be said as "different as compared to" - but then, it might correctly be "different as compared with", mightn't it? And that's a whole topic different from this one.

No comments

Add Comment

Enclosing asterisks marks text as bold (*word*), underscore are made via _word_.
Standard emoticons like :-) and ;-) are converted to images.

To prevent automated Bots from commentspamming, please enter the string you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.