Y’know, I’ve almost gotten used to seeing the phrase different than. It’s wrong, mind you, but it’s everywhere, and I can even sort of understand how people who don’t ever think about words and how they work could reach the conclusion that different than is correct.
However… where the hell did different to come from? Is it because of some pseudo-educated assumption that, since we say similar to, we must also say different to? (If you have an explanation for why anyone would write different to in place of different from — an explanation better than “language changes so shut the fuck up you grammer nazi” or “who cares lots of people make typos so what?” — please share. I don’t like not understanding things.)
The cause of today’s rant (emphasis mine): “And any kind of genius requires a mind that works differently to most people’s[…]” (You can read the entire article from which that quotes comes, if you’re so inclined.) There’s also a lot in the article about how being creative is a mental illness (’cause anyone who doesn’t fit perfectly into the middle 68 percent of the bell curve is totally whack-a-mole, right?), and some misuse of semicolons. (Those, as much as I hate to say it, may have been thrown in just so the writer could prove that he’d attended university. Score one for Vonnegut.* Back in his day, though, maybe people who used semicolons used them correctly.) I wouldn’t care at all about different to if it was on some personal blog or in a comment on Facebook — informal writing is often, y’know, informal — but an article concerning Serious Literature (Sylvia Plath is mentioned by name more than once) should not contain blatant grammatical errors; it ruins every Serious Literature student’s image of being inherently superior to the rest of us.
*Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. […] All they do is show you’ve been to college.”