Elder vs. Older: Are You Using Them Right?

by Arushi Gupta

In academic writing, the words “elder” vs. “older” are often used interchangeably to refer to someone who is advanced in years. But we all know that these words have different meanings and should be used correctly to avoid confusion. In this blog, we will discuss the difference between elder and older and provide examples of how they can be used correctly in scientific writing.

When to Use elder and older

The word “elder” is used to refer to someone who is older than another person in a family, group, or organization. For example, in some cultures, the eldest son inherits the family’s property. In contrast, the word “older” is used to refer to someone who is more advanced in age than someone else, regardless of their position in a family, group, or organization.

Common writing errors in academic writing

What is the difference between elder and older

The key difference between elder and older is that elder is used to indicate a hierarchy or seniority in a family or group, while older refers only to age. Elder is a comparative term, meaning it compares the ages of two or more individuals in a group, whereas older is a descriptive term that does not imply a comparison.

Examples of elder and older

“The elder members of the family gathered for a reunion.” In this example, “elder” is used to indicate a higher position or seniority in the family.

“The older members of the population are at a higher risk for developing chronic diseases.” In this example, “older” is used to indicate age, without implying a hierarchy or seniority.

“The elder scientist led the research team to discover a new treatment for the disease.” In this example, “elder” is used to indicate the seniority or experience of the scientist in the research team.

“The older participants in the study reported more health problems than the younger ones.” In this example, “older” is used to compare the age of the participants in the study.

In conclusion, by understanding the difference between these terms, researchers and scientists can communicate more clearly and effectively in their writing. In fact, there are more such words that are commonly confused – for instance, intra vs. inter, weak vs. week, adopt vs. adapt – and you must read about them to write better research.

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