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I wrote:

Trump might be a populist president, and it just shows to me that Americans are not much a different nation.

I feel that my sentence is okay, however, I found almost no results in google for "much a different". What is wrong with this construction?

I want to say:

  • Amricans are like most other nations
  • Americans are not very different from other nations
  • While we expected they might be different, they are not much different...
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  • what do you mean by "much a different nation"? To me that is not correct English. I don't understand what you are trying to say.
    – anouk
    Feb 13 '19 at 17:53
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    I agree with @anouk. It's easy to see that that isn't right, but to work out what mistake you've made we need to know what you're trying to say. Perhaps "such a different"?
    – SamBC
    Feb 13 '19 at 19:07
  • @SamBC I modified my question....
    – Ahmad
    Feb 14 '19 at 5:36
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Even with the clarification of the intended meaning, the construction of the sentence as a whole has a problem.

Trump might be a populist president, and it just shows to me that Americans are not much a different nation.

As it's written, the portion of the sentence after the comma is acting in contrast to the portion that comes before it.

To simplify:

X might be Y, but Z.
I might be short on cash, but I'll still buy dinner.

What comes after but normally presents something that is surprising, given what's already been said. The word but is the most commonly used conjunction to follow an X might be Y formulation.


In your case, what follows is not contrasting. In fact, it makes sense. When using might be, and is not normally placed in conjunction with it as you've done.

Additionally, you can't compare Americans to other nations because Americans are not nations. You can only compare America to other other nations or Americans to people from other nations.

Last, it's the use of the article that is causing problems. Not much a different doesn't work in the construction that you have.


In short, and addressing those three points, the following rephrasing and restructuring seems to best represent your intended meaning:

America is not much different from other nations, and this is shown to me by Trump being a populist president.

Or, if you want to keep the sentence's original order and use might be, you can also use but and call out the fact that what follows isn't actually unusual:

Trump might be a populist president, but this is not surprising to me since Americans are not much different than people from other nations.

(In both cases, your implied argument is that populism is a criteria for election that's common to most nations.)

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  • Thanks! I got the problem with "might be". I thought of it as "Trump is probably a populist president, and it shows to me that America isn't much a different nation". While I like this "much a different nation" because it's in Persian, it seems doesn't work in English.
    – Ahmad
    Feb 14 '19 at 18:59
  • Or maybe "is not a much different nation"?
    – Ahmad
    Feb 15 '19 at 5:38
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It really would help if we knew what you were trying to say. "... might be ..." followed by "and" indicates that this sentence is part of something longer. If it was followed by "but", then one would expect that the sentence is complete and should be analysed as such. "not much a different" is definitely not a correct phrase. Perhaps the following would help, but they need a " from ..." clause to be complete. "not such a different nation" (or "not so different a nation") "not much of a different nation" (awkward!)

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  • I modified my question...
    – Ahmad
    Feb 14 '19 at 5:36

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