Difference between Older and Elder

I explain the difference between older and elder in this short video lesson. As always, with plenty of examples. 

Scroll down to read the transcript of this lesson.

Difference between Older and Elder - Transcript

Hi there my name is Harry. Welcome to English in a minute and we bring this to you by englishlessonviaskype.com.

Today we’re going to talk about the adjective OLD and its comparative and superlative uses – OLD OLDER and OLDEST.

Other three forms:

My old cat.

My older dog.

The oldest animal.

When we’re talking about things or people we can use OLD OLDER OLDEST.

For example:

The old man.

The older woman.

The oldest person I know.

So it doesn’t matter whether it is an animal or a person – old older oldest.

The other format is OLD ELDER ELDEST.

But we can only use elder and eldest when we’re referring to immediate family.

For example:

My elder brother is a doctor.

My eldest sister is a nurse.

So here we’re talking about immediate family members, brothers and sisters so we can use old elder and eldest.

Of course, we can use old older and oldest. But when we’re talking about immediate family, we can only use elder and eldest.


So another rule that I would like to bring to your attention is that

when we’re using elder we can only use it when it’s followed by a noun.

My elder sister.

My eldest brother.

But if I say My brother is older than me –  that is correct

but I can’t say My brother is elder than me because in this situation elder is not followed immediately by a noun.

Okay.  So there are the rules concerning the adjectives old, older, oldest or old, elder and eldest.

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More Information

For more information on English Phrasal Verbs, English Grammar Rules and English idiomatic expressions, check out the following links:

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