January 22 2010

Working with Prepositions

by Barbie in Grammar

Writers often struggle with prepositions. These small, seemingly insignificant words can impact the meaning of the sentence, meaning there is usually a right preposition to use and a wrong one. Let’s look at one common preposition mistake that we see in documents we edit.

Which of the following three sentences uses the proper preposition?

A) A doctor is different than a veterinarian.
B) This dress is different to that one.
C) The pink flowers are different from the red flowers.

If you chose C, you’re correct. “From” is the proper preposition to use after “different.” While there has been debate over this usage in the past, most resources, including The Elements of Style online, prefer using “from” rather than “than” or “to.”