Results 1 to 6 of 6
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Italian
      • Home Country:
      • Italy
      • Current Location:
      • Italy

    • Join Date: Apr 2009
    • Posts: 254
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #1

    Old and elderly

    I can't understand what is the difference between these two. When I am writing a text when should I use each?


    • Join Date: Feb 2009
    • Posts: 1
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #2

    Re: Old and elderly

    The cOED 6th edition gives elderly as 'Somewhat old; past middle age' While old is 'Advanced in age, far on in natural period of existence.'

    For me, 'old' brings images of drooling people in old-age homes, while elderly is a sweet old granny/grandpa who still does his/her own garden. Obvioulsy it depends a lot on context.

    Hope this helps.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Italian
      • Home Country:
      • Italy
      • Current Location:
      • Italy

    • Join Date: Apr 2009
    • Posts: 254
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #3

    Re: Old and elderly

    Quote Originally Posted by sixhobbits View Post
    The cOED 6th edition gives elderly as 'Somewhat old; past middle age' While old is 'Advanced in age, far on in natural period of existence.'

    For me, 'old' brings images of drooling people in old-age homes, while elderly is a sweet old granny/grandpa who still does his/her own garden. Obvioulsy it depends a lot on context.

    Hope this helps.
    Thank you very much. Of course it always is very good to have the idea of someone who is a native speaker in the matters such as this.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • German
      • Home Country:
      • Germany
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Nov 2008
    • Posts: 1,032
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #4

    Re: Old and elderly

    It seems to me that in Canada at least, "old" when referring to people has become a bad word. "Elderly" or "quite elderly" is used often.

    I am in the bed and breakfast business. Some time ago we had guests from China. A three generation family. The oldest member was the 90 year old grandmother. Her son introduced her to me and mentioned that she was "very old". I chided him somewhat by saying "That's impolite, telling a lady's age!"

    He told me that no, it is very important in China to be proud of your age, and that the old people are revered. I wish it would be like that here. I know that there are Chinese members here on this site, am I right in the assumption of age being revered?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Italian
      • Home Country:
      • Italy
      • Current Location:
      • Italy

    • Join Date: Apr 2009
    • Posts: 254
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #5

    Re: Old and elderly

    So what I comprehend from this all is that elderly is somehow more formal and polite and usually is used for people? Can we use to for other things?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Oct 2008
    • Posts: 907
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #6

    Re: Old and elderly

    Quote Originally Posted by maral55 View Post
    So what I comprehend from this all is that elderly is somehow more formal and polite and usually is used for people? Can we use to for other things?
    Dear maral:

    Yes, elderly is used for people. Old can be used for the animate and inanimate.
    Elderly is considered a more polite term than old.
    People also use 'older' as a softened form of 'old'.
    An elder is a respected member of the oldest living generation of a group, tribe, congregation or other body of people.

    Examples:

    Posted on public transportation: 'Please reserve these seats for the elderly and disabled.'
    'Is Mr. Roberts here?' 'Yes, he's the elderly gentleman by the door.'

    'I need a new backpack. This old one is worn out.'
    'When my grandmother was a very old woman, she lived with us.'

    'The older members of the staff can remember when the company was founded.

    The council of elders gathered to discuss issues that will affect the future of the church.

    The term 'senior citizens' or just 'seniors' is sometimes used (AmE) to refer to people over 65 or 70 years of age. This usage is impersonal and often used in government publications.

    I hope this is helpful,

    Petra

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

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