Vedant Misra

Founder/CEO at an AI startup called Kemvi. I'm interested in artificial intelligence, consciousness, rationality, neuroscience, markets, and Mexican food.

This post is different than the other ones

Anyone who thinks that Bill Clinton isn't eloquent obviously hasn't heard him speak.

However, I was somewhat disappointed to hear on Larry King today that he too is a member of the ever growing group of Americans that says the words "different than" - a group that I am proud to say I have so far managed to resist succumbing to.

Britishers avoid saying "different than" like the plague. Apparently they say "different to," which sounds just as queer to me, but perhaps someday the Brits will learn to speak English. In the US, "different than" has become all too widely accepted. The Oxford Guide to English Usage explains that because "than" is a comparative word, it may only be used in constructions like "He was wearing a different bowler hat yesterday than the one one he had last week." Thus, "This hat is different than your other hat" is quite improper.

New Fowler's Modern English Usage (R.W. Burchfield, ed. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1996.) says the same thing. Or look at this for another opinion.

So there you have it. In my opinion, this crisis is worse than the obesity problem. I'd much rather have a bunch of 40-BMI'd people walking around than a bunch of "different than"-ers. No I wouldn't, I lied.