this is what i worry about when i’m writing

I’m going to start posting a new story, for which I don’t have a title yet, but I got hung up on this sentence.

It felt very different than running away from home.

Different from? Different than?

The rule from the Chicago Manual of Style:

different. The phrasing different from is generally preferable to different than {“this company is different from that one”}

But “It felt very different from running away from home” sounded awkward. Too many “froms,” for one thing.

Some authorities argue that people get too hung up on the difference, that “different from” is not that different to (as the British sometimes put it) “different than.” But I’m not above getting hung up on these sorts of differences, even though, as is often pointed out, great and respected writers have used both “than” and “from.”

But then, in several places, I found that an exception is often granted for situations where what follows is a clause rather than a noun or noun phrase. Which is clearly the case with my sentence (though I guess technically what follows is a gerund, which is sort of noun-ish…)

Anyway.

Problem solved!

So, the story is about to start. Then I’ll just have to figure out the title, characters, and plot.

Genre isn’t a problem. It’s a mystery. 🙂

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2 Responses to this is what i worry about when i’m writing

  1. Maggie says:

    People tend to say “different than” in speech and it leaks into their writing, when “different from” is more appropriate 90% of the time.

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