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Vocabulary Lesson – eldest v. oldest

Eldest and oldest both refer to ‘the greatest in age’.

However, eldest should only be used for people who are related (family), and is almost always refers to brothers and sisters.

In contrast,  oldest can be used for any person, place, or thing in a group.

Both words are almost always paired with the.


  • I am the eldest of my brothers and sisters.
  • He is the eldest/oldest of the three children. (they may be related, or not)
  • My house is the oldest in the neighborhood.
  • John is the oldest student in my class.

This entry was posted on Sunday, July 21st, 2013 at 6:48 pm and is filed under Vocabulary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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