I want to say something of this sort:

The word "res" differs from the word "rex" by one letter.

In "Lexicon totius Latinitatis" I saw under the term "dama":

"[Dama] differt a capreis solis cornibus, quæ in anteriorem pártem habet incurvata"

My understating is that this formulation from the above quote indeed answers my question. Namely:

X differt a Y(albative) Z(ablative)

([Dama] differs from caprea only by the antlers)

But I'm not sure that my understating is correct. I have hard time trying to validate this by other examples. Also I wonder of other alternatives to formulate such an expression.


Yes, your understanding is correct. This is ablativus respectus, the ablative of respect. If you look up this kind of ablative in your favourite Latin grammar, you will find examples, although not necessarily about differences. If X and Y differ with respect to Z, that is expressed simply by putting Z in ablative.

The word order is flexible, and in some cases it might help to phrase things so that the ablatives of X and Z are not right next to each other. This can be helped by putting differt between the two ablatives.

An alternative worth considering is making both X and Y subjects: X[nom] et Y[nom] Z[abl] differunt.

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