Can anybody explain to me why this structure is correct?

It means something different.

I thinks it is a reduced form of this sentence:

It means something (that is) different.

I'm so confused. I hope for an explanation.

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    See also English Language Learners – Kris Sep 18 '14 at 14:54
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    I see something blue. I see something that is blue. Kif kif. – Drew Sep 18 '14 at 16:39
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    Yes, it is a reduced relative clause; and something different is itself a fixed phrase -- an idiom -- that is often embellished with other terms: And now for something completely different. – John Lawler Sep 18 '14 at 16:44
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    You can connect something with an adjective: something new/interesting/beautiful. Bradbury has a story titled: Something wicked this way comes. The same is true for nothing and anything. – rogermue Dec 21 '14 at 7:14
  • @ rogermue I think you're mixing in examples of an emphatic qualifier. "That's something beautiful" is emphatic while "That's something different" could be an ordinary statement that one thing is different than another. However, context or verbal tone could make it an emphasis! – CoolHandLouis Dec 8 '17 at 0:31

"It means something different." And "It means something, that is different."

The meaning in nature are about exactly the same, although they both can be used in separate situations. The only real difference is that "Something different" is a shorter, easier way to write "Something that is different." This is similar to how we write "Its" instead of "It is." They rarely have any differences, unless used in different context.

Example: "What you said*means something different."* Example:"What you said*means something, that is different."*

Basically saying, they don't have any significant differences, unless written in different context, which would still not change the meaning of your message.


You might call this a reduced relative clause or perhaps an idiosyncratic manner of speaking that is similar to a reduced relative clause. You may just have to learn that something can take this form. Similarly, "There is something wrong with this device."

But there's also similar reduced relative constructions such as "I saw the book (this is) on the table." and "I saw you (being) outside."

There is another related usage of something that is emphatic:

  • That sure is something! (Meaning "wow!" or "Would you look at that!")
  • That is something else! (Same meaning.)
  • That is something beautiful! (Emphatically stating it's beautiful.)

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