“No Difference” vs. “No Different” – Meanings Explained

The phrases “no difference” and “no different” are confusing for many readers and writers. This helpful article should aid your understanding of the two phrases. Indeed, this article will define the meaning of “no difference” and “no different” in a few easy steps.

What Is The Difference Between “No Difference” And “No Different”?

Fundamentally, the difference between “no difference” and “no different” is that the word “difference” is a noun and the word “different” is an adjective. “No difference” means to not cause any change or to be unimportant. “No different” means identical or similar.

no difference vs no different

Since the word “different” is an adjective, it requires a noun to modify. The word “difference” has many other unrelated meanings, most significantly in mathematics. The word “different” has other forms of composition, such as “different to”, “different than” and “different from”.

The word “difference” is often preceded by the words “make no” making the phrase “make no difference”. This means to have no positive or negative impact.

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What Does “No Difference” Mean?

“No difference” is a noun phrase meaning to not cause any change or to be unimportant.

The word “difference” can be used as part of idioms. It highlights the extent of the definition of dissimilarity or contrast between two things, entities, or situations.

Observe the following examples of sentences that feature the phrase “no difference” to help you understand the meaning of the phrase “no difference”:

  • Purple wallpaper makes no difference to the look of this room.
  • It makes no difference what you say, I don’t agree with your opinion.
  • I am happy to book the table in the restaurant for Friday or Saturday; it makes no difference to my schedule.

What Does “No Different” Mean?

“No different” is an adjective phrase meaning identical or similar.

Other meanings of the phrase “no different” include alike, equal, and equivalent.

The phrase “no different” gives a sense of a scale, perhaps including extremities of difference such as “no different”, “slightly different” and “very different”. Furthermore, the phrase “no different” can often have negative associations in a sentence.

Observe the following examples of sentences that feature the phrase “no different” to help you understand the meaning of the phrase “no different”:

  • I assure you, I am no different from anyone else in my views about the new shopping center.
  • Whatever clothes she bought, she seemed to look no different.
  • The shoes I bought are no different from the more expensive ones.

Is “No Difference” Or “No Different” Used The Most?

It has been confirmed that “no difference” is a more well-used phrase than “no different”.

This helpful graph from Google Ngram Viewer depicts the usage of the phrase “no difference” and “no different” between the years 1800 and 2019. In the graph, the red line illustrates the usage of “no different”, whilst the blue line illustrates “no difference”.

no difference vs no different historical development

The phrase “no difference” has been used more than “no different” over the years. However, usage of the phrase “no different” has been gradually increasing since 1860.

What Is The Difference Between “No Different” And “Not Different”?

It is clear to any reader and writer that there are significant similarities in the meaning of the phrases “no different” and “not different”. Nevertheless, there is a subtle contrast in the emphasis of the two phrases.

The phrase “no different” suggests a closeness in similarity, whilst the phrase “not different” is more definite, indicating that two things are the same with no differences.

It is correct to use both phrases within a sentence, depending on the context of the sentence. However, many writers and readers comment that the phrase “not different” sounds quite jarring. Often people prefer to state something like “the same as” instead.

Observe the following examples of sentences that feature the phrases “no different” and “not different” to help you understand the meaning of two phrases and any comparisons and contrasts between them:

  • Your unique idea is no different from that of the other children in the class.
  • Your unique idea is not different from that of the other children in the class.
  • She was no different from him in terms of height.
  • She was not different from him in terms of height.
  • The skirt is no different from the others in the shop.
  • The skirt is not different from the others in the shop.