Different from, different than, different to

Sentence first

I thought these things were different than they used to be. – James Thurber

If you see nothing immediately wrong with the phrases different from, different to, and different than, you might be surprised by all the ink spilt, keys poked and eyebrows furrowed over their respective permissibilities. Not only is different than often mistakenly called a mistake, it has been described as flagrant, eyebrow-raising, revolting, abominable, and ridiculous. More on that later. First, an introduction to the use and distribution of the expressions.

Different from is by far the most widely used and accepted form, different to is common in British English, and different than is spoken regularly in different varieties of English, including US English and BrE. All have their uses. The predominance of different from, particularly in written English, is shown by these figures from the Collins Cobuild Bank of English, which I…

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Choose a better verb!

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

by Liz Walter
It’s easy to use very basic verbs such as get, start, have or make, but a great way of improving your English is to learn more interesting verbs that go with particular nouns. For example, while it’s fine to say get attention or do research, your English will sound much better if you can say attractattention or carry outresearch.

Sometimes it’s worth learning the verb and noun combination as a phrase because it is so common that it would sound strange to use a different verb. For instance, we commit a crime (never ‘do’), telllies or jokes (never ‘say’), and pluck up courage (not ‘get’). And while it’s possible to ‘give’ attention, details or compliments, it’s much more common and natural to payattention, go into detailsand pay someone a compliment.

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What a lovely dress! Paying and accepting compliments.

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

by Liz Walter
Paying compliments (telling someone that you like something about them) is an important part of communication, not only between friends but also at work and in other situations. This blog looks at phrases you can use not only to give someone a compliment but also – often harder – to accept a compliment in a polite and friendly way.

There are several simple phrases that can be used in lots of situations:

What a lovely dress/photo/garden!

I love/really like your apartment/poem/hair/coat!

However, most compliments depend on what it is you want to praise. For example, for clothes you could say:

You look lovely in that dress/those trousers.

You’re looking very smart today.

That jacket/colour really suits you.

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Anguishing Needs

Mark Stevensson's Poetry

As I sit alone on my bed
I think of you and all you mean,
Floating through my weary head
You are my angel, you are my queen.
As I lay awake through the lonely night
I dream of your enchanting smile,
When ever I am scared or take fright
I think of you and feel safe for awhile.
As I miss the feel of your softest touch
I long to hold your body near
I miss you so much
My dearest of dears.

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I won’t tolerate it! Replacing formal words with phrasal verbs.

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

by Liz Walter​
When you are using a language, it is important to understand if a word is formal or informal, so that you can use it in an appropriate way. You might hear people saying doshfor money, or spud for potato, but they wouldn’t write those words in a formal essay. Similarly, a lawyer’s letter might include very formal terms such as heretofore or pursuant to, but nobody uses them in speech or informal writing.

Learners sometimes have problems with this issue when they try to avoid phrasal verbs by using a single word verb instead. This is particularly true when they have a similar word in their own language, for example tolerate in English and tolérer in French or tolerar in Spanish. Although the meaning is the same, tolerate is a more formal word in English. In speech, we would be much more likely to…

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