“Different” Type of Question
At least once a day I fret over different. My knee-jerk reaction is often that it’s unnecessary if it seems apparent that the writer is referring to a list of varied items. But this is a situation where overwhelming usage usually defeats my instincts. And I’m never satisfied with my decision. Some examples:
After two years, cast a wide net when seeking financing—apply to at least five different lenders.
There are many different reasons businesses might be audited.
The robber returned to the crime scene three different times.
Why can’t I delete different? In each example, why is the word necessary? I don’t think that removing it would change or obscure the writer’s meaning. It seems clear enough that in each case we’re referring to separate lenders/reasons/times. But if different seems so superfluous, why do I so often leave it in? I can’t tell what’s holding me back. I would love to hear different thoughts from different readers.