Word for the Wise November 15, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Than and from
We were asked if saying a different path than (rather than a different path from) is proper English. Since we would opt for a different path than over a different path from, we set down the prepositional path. (来源：www.EnglishCN.com)
We begin with from, which is most definitely a preposition, and which is used as a function word with three primary purposes: to indicate a starting point of a physical movement, in measuring or reckoning, or in a statement of limits (as when we say a week from today); to indicate physical separation or an act of removal, abstention, exclusion, release, subtraction, or differentiation (this is where a different path from fits in); and to indicate the source, cause, agent, or basis (as in a letter from a listener).
Than, in contrast, has a well-established position as a conjunction, where it is used as a function word indicating the second member or a difference (older than I am, for example). Its usefulness as a preposition went unremarked upon for the first two centuries of its admittedly occasional existence. Then, in the 1700s, grammarians began debating its validity. These days, commentators and lexicographers agree the prepositional than has an established sense meaning "in comparison with" (that’s why the comparative different path than) works. But they have also come to these inconsistent conclusions about the prepositional than: than whom is standard, if clumsy; than me may be acceptable in speech; and than her, than him, and than them all raise eyebrows.