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March 6, 2011
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11/11 without pausing or breaking a sweat. I'm not an expert on the language, but as an engineer, I internalize unambiguous rules and structures fairly easily. This is one of the few (don't get me started on "one of the only") cases where English seems easy for me.
Different to seems to be the norm for the British, different from for Americans. I see nothing wrong with either of those as they don't make the mistake treating different as a comparative. Different than is (almost) always wrong, and it always grates on me, especially since I often hear and read it in the media where it's a gross abuse of the tools of the trade. A can be bigger, older, wiser, hotter, longer, etc than B but not different than B.
I can think of one awkward example where different than would be correct:
"I think A is different from B. Chris thinks C is more different than A."
In the second sentence, from is implied and the expanded sentence would read: Chris thinks C is more different from B than A is.
This is a case where using different as a comparative is legit. I did say it was awkward, didn't I?
To my native Wisconsin ears, a Canadian about always sounded like “aboot”, but when I would try to imitate it just didn’t quite sound right. If I say “a-boat” it seems to come out nearly perfectly, but not quite. In the Canadian “about”, that vowel sound seems to be a tiny bit longer than when I say boat. For some reason, it’s very hard for me to mimic that consistently.
Digressing to the VEE-hickle tangent. In the North Central dialect (Wisconsin, Michigan Upper Peninsula, Minnesota, and points West, the H is silent. Shawn C confused Dbfreak with his “veer-kul”. But I know why. I have friends from the non-rhotic parts of England (Exeter) and this has cropped up occasionally in our discussions of the language. I almost consider the non-rhotic English “r” to be a speech defect (snicker). When a Brit uses an “r” not followed by a vowel to attempt a phonetic spelling it almost certainly means something very close to the vowel sound we, on this side of the Atlantic, make when we say “idea”.
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