Common mistake to be elder (older) than

The Common Mistake: "To be elder (older) than"

One common mistake that often occurs in English is the confusion between the words "elder" and "older" when comparing ages. While both words refer to someone being of a greater age, they are not interchangeable. The correct term to use in this context is "older."

Understanding the Difference

The word "elder" refers specifically to the position or rank of being older in a family or community. It is used to describe the oldest member of a group or the one with the highest level of authority based on age.

On the other hand, "older" is a comparative form of the adjective "old." It is used when comparing the ages of two or more individuals or things. It simply indicates that one person or thing is of a greater age than another.

Examples and Correct Usage

Incorrect: Sarah is elder than her sister.

Correct: Sarah is older than her sister.

Incorrect: The elder of the two cats is five years old.

Correct: The older of the two cats is five years old.

Incorrect: My elder brother is coming to visit next week.

Correct: My older brother is coming to visit next week.

As you can see from the examples, "older" is the appropriate term to use when comparing ages. It is essential to use the correct word to avoid confusion and maintain grammatical accuracy.

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to be elder (older) than mistake examples

  • Incorrect:
    She is elder than her brother.

    She is older than her brother.

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