LETTER: Different views of English grammar

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The Independent Online
From Mr Barney Prendergast

Sir: We do not need Professor Jean Aitchison's trendy defence of the slipshod in speech (Section Two, 7 February) any more than we need poor teaching of English in schools.

Her argument that "different to" is an acceptable form of "different from" is absurd, and she should know better than to cite a 17th-century dramatist, Thomas Dekker, in support; we all know that the works of Shakespeare are full of unparsable English ("of his bones are coral made" - The Tempest).

"Different from" means not resembling. "Different to" implies transitive action, eg: "She was kind to everybody else but quite different to me".

Yours faithfully,

Barney Prendergast

Walton on Thames, Surrey

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