Levels of Distractibility: Who cares? *. Some people will be distracted from your meaning: **. Many people will be distracted from your meaning: ***.
Question: Someone criticized me for saying, "He was different than her." Why?
Answer: If a person or thing is different, then it's "different from...." "He was different from her." The grammatical explanation is that "different from" takes an object of the preposition, "from."
"Than" is a conjunction and must be followed by a subject and verb: "He is different than she (is) in his taste for music."
To be practical, the correct expression will almost always be "different from...." And many people will wince when they read or hear "different than...," which sounds wrong even when it is right, i.e., followed by a subject and verb. When in doubt, use "different from...."
Rating of distractibility: ***.