[A] “No sooner had I sat down than there was a loud knock on the door.” (OALD)

The primary function of this word, than, seems to be comparing two things other than the above fixed expression that shows one thing happens straight after another. From this, I got wondering if I could use next expression: “[B] No sooner had I sat down from there being a loud knock on the door” - for Longman’s advanced dictionary says ‘from’ is “[comparing] used when you are comparing things…” What I wanted to know is not whether [B] can substitute [A] breaking the stereotype, but [B] itself can be used.

If it can, is this also possible?: “Lovers may kill their own love story for no other reason from that they are unable to tolerate the uncertainty. (On Love, by Alain de Botton)” - the original than is replaced into from.

1 Answer 1


No, this won't work.

From is not used in comparisons but in distinctions: it appears only with a handful of verbs (and their derivatives) whose the sense is that one entity is explicitly set apart from another:

  • A differs from B. or A is different from B.
  • We distinguish A from B. or *A is distinguished from B.
  • He distanced his opinions from hers. or His opinions were distant from hers.

But the pattern is idiomatic; it cannot be extended to other verbs.

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