1. The maid of honor dresses different from the bride.

  2. The maid of honor dresses differently from the bride.

Which one is correct? Or both of them are?

It's a fill-in-the-blank questions appeared in my last English exam.

The subject and object were not originally "the maid of honor" and "the bride" but the pattern was certainly "XX dresses _________ from YY" (that implied we had to write something with the meaning of "different").

The teacher said that the answer was "differently" and "different" was wrong.

I googled "dresses different from" and "acts different from". They both appeared online and in ebooks.

Please explain to me whether it's correct or not.

Many thanks!

1 Answer 1


Well, "differently" is the traditional form of the adverb and used in both AmE and BrE.

"different" is accepted as an adverb (is listed as such e.g., in the Merriam Webster Unabridged Dictionary), but mainly only in AmE, like all "short adverbs," and doesn't have the same acceptance.

You should have tested at Google Books (not normal Google, which is full of samples from uneducated or from non-native speakers). GB shows samples from books that have been (usually) professionally edited and published.

GB shows:

"dresses differently from" About 1,770 results

"dresses different from" About 246 results

which to me clearly shows that the first version is much better established. In the end, your teacher was right.

  • 1
    Though flat adverbs may be more acceptable in general in the US, that's far from the complete picture. 'We flew direct to Los Angeles' has a different meaning from 'We flew directly to Los Angeles', for instance. Apr 18, 2015 at 13:44

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