Older Sister & Elder Sister – Is There Any Difference Between Them?

Older vs Elder – Are they totally the same? Is there any difference between them? Should you say “I have an older sister” or “I have an elder sister”? Which is right? Which is wrong? Let’s find out the answers to all of these questions right here and right now with us!!!



Do you have a sister? Is she younger than you? Or is she your big sister? That’s always so great if we have a sister, especially a big sister, right? But … when you want to introduce that you have a sister who’s more advanced in age than you are, should you say “I have an older sister” or “I have an elder sister?”

Both older and elder are comparative adjectives that mean “more advanced in age”, but in this case, which one is grammatically correct? Older sister OR elder sister? If you arenot sure about the answer to this question, let’s be here with us and we will help you understand the difference in meaning and usage of older vs elder. By that way, you yourself will know when to use and how to use these comparative adjectives in a sentence.

First of all, let’s figure out the differences between “older” and “elder”!!! Here we go!!

Differences between Older and Elder

Despite the fact that older and elder are all the opposite of younger and can be used interchangeably in many cases, these words still feature a few important differences.

- While older can be used to make comparison using than, we can’t use the term “elder” that way.

For example:

She is older than him --- Correct

She is elder than him --- Incorrect

- While the term “elder” can be also used as a noun which refers to a person of greater age than someone specified, you can’t use the word “older” that way (older is just an adjective, not a noun).

For example:

The elders in this family are very good at cooking --- Correct

The olders in this family are very good at cooking --- Incorrect

- “Older” is the comparative form of the word “old”, and it progresses to “oldest” as the superlative form. Meanwhile, “elder” is the base form of itself (not eld, eld is a noun), and its superlative is “eldest”.

- One more difference between these 2 wordsis that while elder is used only of persons, while the term “older” can be applied to both things and persons.

Note: As a noun, elder is not the same as elderly because elderly means the old people.

Older sister or elder sister

As mentioned above, both older and elder are adjectives that mean more advanced in age and they can be used interchangeably in most cases, except for the differences listed in the previous part. Therefore, both older sister and elder sister are grammatically correct in the case we stated in the introduction of this writing.

It’s the same when we say “I have an older sister” and “I have an elder sister”. Similarly, we can also say “My older sister (elder sister) is a teacher”, or “(My elder sister) My older sister and younger brother are studying at the local university.”


Older and elder, in most cases, have the same meaning and similar usage as well. Despite that fact, there are still important differences between these 2 adjectives that you need to keep it mind so that you will always use them properly in both spoken and written English. Now, you surely know that it should be “older sister” or “elder sister” in a sentence, right?

After all, we wish that our today’s article with the main topic of the differences in meaning and usage between OLDER and ELDER is useful to you. If you find it helpful with practical knowledge of English provided, don’t forget to like and share our post!!!

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