[DWJ] different than, What are you reading?

Mark Allums mark at allums.com
Sat Nov 7 03:50:50 EST 2009

Hi Otter,
You are right to question this stuff; it is "conventional wisdom.  I was 
taught this.  I do not claim complete mastery of it.

(Aside: I hope I didn't offend you in that chat we had.  It was probably 
bad form on my part to look up your email address.  I'm sorry.)

Mark A.

Otter Perry wrote:
> On Nov 6, 2009, at 8:37 AM, Mark Allums wrote:
>> One can be "different to" another, as well as different from them.
>> I think "different than" is quite an old phrase, and was originally based
>> on a grammatical mistake.  Today, it is considered a "practical" usage,
>> much like ending sentences with prepositions are beginning to be
>> accepted.  I still cringe to hear it, however.
> Which?  Different than?  Or ending a sentence with a preposition?
> To quote someone [Churchill maybe?], 'This is nonsense up with
> which I will not put.'
>> Of course prepositions, like other parts of speech, are different in
>> Latin and Greek from prepositions in English, and I understand that
>> some of the old rules of English grammar are misconceptions
>> based on rules of Latin grammar.
>> Mark A.
> Hmmmm.  Well.  I have never been corrected on it, not by
> the most rabid grammarian.  I shall have to look into this.
> But I will say it is past praying for that I will ever change,
> or that I will ever consider it less than perfect.
> There's a thing that John McWhorter calls "blackboard
> grammar", which is stuff you get taught in school and which
> is hammered into you that has no real basis in past English
> usage.  In the 18th century there were a couple of guys
> who decided English needed its grammar tightened up
> because it was establishing itself as an important inter-
> national language.  Naturally they used Latin as a model.
> So they established a number of rules, including the
> one against double negatives.  Multiple negatives have
> a long history in English; they were used for emphasis.
> Shakespeare and Chaucer, for example, use them.
> Also, every non-standard dialect of English uses them.
> Well, I can go on and on, but I will stop.
> ---------------------------
> If sex is so personal, why are we expected to
> share it with someone else?
>                                     -- Lily Tomlin

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