In a team chat, I found the following sentence written by a colleague of mine:

Hi, just for the clarity of the team, Marcos found the issue with another column than what is mentioned in the description of the issue.

I always used than as a mean of comparison but in the above sentence it seems like using than as a contradiction. So is this a permitted usage of than? I feel like this is a very colloquial usage of this word in a particular region that I am not used to.

  • It's still a comparative construction. – BillJ Apr 15 '20 at 9:53

"Than" isn't only used in comparisons - we use "other than" in connection with exceptions, exclusions or omissions, for example, "I have a brother other than the ones you already met".

A more idiomatic way to say what your colleague meant would be:

Marcos found the issue with a column other than what is mentioned in the description of the issue.

"Another" is a contraction of "an other", so it could be argued his original sentence was fine - he was saying that he found "one other column than" the ones already known. It just isn't quite idiomatic.

I would also have preferred if he had said "other than those mentioned", or "other than the one mentioned", depending on how many columns were already listed.

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