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That’s another story. That’s a different story. They seem the same to me. But I hear they have different meanings. What’s the difference?

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If there is a difference, it is a very subtle one and may easily be ignored. "That's another story" might suggest a closer relationship between the subject being discussed and the subject being postponed. Maybe the "story" involves the same people or events. "That's a different story" could suggest a less related subject.

Again, this difference is subtle. For the most part the two expressions are interchangeable, especially for a non-native speaker.

In actual usage, "that's another story" is more common but both are found in modern English.

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There may be no difference between the exact phrases in the question.

However, a difference can be more obviously detected if the sentences are rephrased.


1. Tell me another story.

A parent has just finished telling a child one story, and the child is now asking to have a second story told to them.

In other words:

→ Tell me [one more] story.


2. Tell me a different story.

The same parent has suggested a particular story be told, but the child doesn't like it and, instead, wants a different one.

In other words:

→ Tell me [a replacement] story.


The same difference in meaning between another and a different can be given in the original phrasing too, although it may not be as obvious. In both cases, however, either interpretation is possible. Normally, the overall context will determine which meaning is meant.

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