"Senior" or "the Elder"

Little man

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Hello
I have a question about words "Senior" and "Junior".
"Senior" is using about a father and "Junior" about a son.
But, can I use the phrases "the elder" and "the younger" instead?
And, if I've got it right, the phrases "the elder" and "the younger" may not only relate to a father and a son, but also can describe more relationships, such as two brothers or sisters.
And another question. Do I have to capitalise "the elder", "the younger"?

Hope you help me.
Regards.
 

GoesStation

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"The elder" means "the older one". If a father and son have the same name, you could say "the younger John Jones". You could say either "the elder" or "the older" John Jones, but it's more natural (at least in American English) to say "John Jones Senior".

For some reason, you can also say "John Jones the elder". You cannot, however, say "John Jones the older".

You're right, "elder" and "younger" merely place two similar things with respect to age. They don't have to be father and son or necessarily even human, for that matter.

Capitalize proper nouns. Don't capitalize "the elder" or "the younger" unless those words are part of the name of something.
 

bubbha

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I usually consider "the Elder" or "the Younger" (capitalized) to pertain to people of ancient times (Pliny the Elder), whereas "Jr." and "Sr." are much more modern (Martin Luther King Jr.).
 

jutfrank

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Use the Elder and the Younger only in the names of historical figures, who are father and son, who have the same name, and where both men are famous in their own right.

William Pitt the Elder and his son William Pitt the Younger were both Prime Ministers of Britain in the 18th century.
 

emsr2d2

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The only two I could come up with were William Pitt (as mentioned above) and Pliny the Elder and his son (or nephew, depending on which website you visit), Pliny the Younger.
 

Raymott

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You can also use "the younger" (less usually "the elder"), preceding the name, for the early years of the same person.
"The younger Shakespeare's comedies do not have the intensity of his mature tragedies."
This means his early comedies, not his son's comedies.
 

probus

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There are also Cato the Elder and Cato the Younger and Scipio the Elder and Scipio the Younger. Both pairs are from ancient Rome.
 

Barb_D

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The Presidents Bush had very similar names (George HW Bush and George W Bush) but they were not Sr. and Jr.
Sometimes I refer to them as Bush 41 or Bush 43 (the 41st and 43rd presidents), and when people want to refer specifically to 43, they often call him just "W." However, if you want to refer to the father or to both, you could say "Bush the elder" since "Bush the senior" is not correct.
 

emsr2d2

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Here in the UK, we generally understand George Bush to be the first one and George W [Bush] to be the younger. The latter is often referred to here, in a terrible mock American accent, as "George Dubya".
 

Barb_D

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He's called "Dubya" here too.
 
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