Wrong Word Wednesday #12

Every week I will demonstrate an example of poor English where a different word is used from the one intended. Sometimes this creates a grammatically incorrect sentence. Unfortunately, the mistake is usually so pervasive that we all do it and such errors are usually made by those who should know better – journalists working for national or global media outlets such as newspapers and television

Eldest/Oldest

Both mean “most advanced in age” so is there a difference? Can they be used interchangeably? This is one of the more controversial word uses with some sites saying that the eld- applies only to people but old- can apply equally to people and inanimate objects alike.

“He is the eldest of the three siblings”
“The oldest city in the USA is Jamestown, Virginia”

More information at Daily Writing Tips

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2 thoughts on “Wrong Word Wednesday #12

  1. Hmmm, I’ve never thought about this one. But, yes, now that you mention it, I do associate ‘eldest’ with people, never with things.

    I mean, I would never say (or write): It was the eldest car on the lot.

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