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Let's say we compare two objects and we've already mentioned a particular quality of one of them. Then we want to emphasize that the other object doesn't have that quality. Moreover, let's suppose we are not allowed to mention both objects in our sentence. I would always say "that's the difference from object #1". However, I recently heard in one of the Game of Thrones episodes "that's the difference between X" construction. In that context, X was a person but I doubt this fact changes anything. Frankly speaking, it sounds very weird to me, as my native language is Russian, and whenever we use russian version of between, we always have to mention both objects.

What's the difference between these two constructions? Are they interchangeable? Is the second one even formal or it can only be used when talking to a friend etc?

  • It's non-standard. Treat 'Game of Thrones' as drama, not a source of proof-texts. – Edwin Ashworth May 7 '18 at 19:28
  • But can I use this construction when talking to people? Or does it sound illiterate? If so, what kind of "illiterate" is that? Is that slang or too old-fashioned? Or just as illiterate as double negation etc? – miha64 May 7 '18 at 19:53
  • I'd use 'That is how X differs from / is different from Y'. If Y was understood, you could say 'That's how X differs'. // 'That's the difference from last season.' is acceptable, but 'That's the difference between last season.' is not, in any context. – Edwin Ashworth May 7 '18 at 22:09

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