Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Elder vs. Older

  1. #1
    CoffeeCommunicator is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Dutch
      • Home Country:
      • Belgium
      • Current Location:
      • Belgium
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    1
    Post Thanks / Like

    Question Elder vs. Older

    I have a question about the use of elder/eldest vs. older/oldest. It seems that in Britain younger people don't make the difference anymore and use
    older/oldest in all situations, even to designate the birth order. I still
    read elder/eldest in print and hear it used in movies or plays. But what
    about the common use? Is this blotting-out happening in the States too?
    Would there be a difference in use according to social class or age?
    Thanks for a reaction

  2. #2
    abaka is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    919
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Elder vs. Older

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/elder

    The usage note to elder is interesting.

    Older is the usual phrase. Elder does seem uncommon in N. American English nowadays, in Canada at any rate, except in the sense of "religious elders", and perhaps "political elders": "elder statesman".

    The Google test shows an 8-1 preference for "older", but that of course does not take into account the frequency of usage in any given meaning.
    Last edited by abaka; 22-Jan-2009 at 17:43.

  3. #3
    engee30's Avatar
    engee30 is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Great Britain
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    2,819
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Elder vs. Older

    The biggest difference between the two is that elder can only be used before a noun:

    Alice's elder brother is in the army now.
    but not I am elder than Alice's brother. or As I grew elder, my fear of spiders developed into a phobia.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    11
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Elder vs. Older

    Hi engee

    would it be correct to say

    She is the elder(elder/older)of the two sisters.

    as you said elder is used before a noun.

  5. #5
    engee30's Avatar
    engee30 is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Great Britain
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    2,819
    Post Thanks / Like

    Smile Re: Elder vs. Older

    Quote Originally Posted by *Rahul* View Post
    Hi engee

    would it be correct to say

    She is the elder(elder/older)of the two sisters.

    as you said elder is used before a noun.
    It is correct to say. The elder (of) can act as a noun in such a case. The same applies to the eldest (of).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    11
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Elder vs. Older

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    It is correct to say. The elder (of) can act as a noun in such a case. The same applies to the eldest (of).

    k

    wht about older instead of elder

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    5,425
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Elder vs. Older

    'elder' as an adjective is used only in family relationships, or in reference to two specified persons so, "the elder brother', "the elder of his two sons", "the elder partner".
    (As a adjective, it did have one other use, but since that's obsolete, no point in mentioning it.)

    'older' means 'of greater age', 'longer established'.
    Last edited by David L.; 14-Mar-2009 at 20:21.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    11
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Elder vs. Older

    so can older also be used here ????

    as older is also used for family relationships and means greater age ...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    5,425
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Elder vs. Older

    She is the elder(elder/older)of the two sisters.

    She is the elder sister.
    She is the older of the two sisters.

Similar Threads

  1. elder and older
    By vannak in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 03-Aug-2007, 14:13
  2. Older or Elder, please, help me
    By schoolman in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 18-Feb-2007, 13:03
  3. older or elder???
    By ruthy930 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 28-May-2006, 03:08
  4. elder and older
    By kong vannak in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-Feb-2006, 01:13
  5. older & elder
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 14-Mar-2005, 07:44

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •