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I just watched a film called Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules.

I wonder how one knows whether he is an elder brother or a younger brother when he only says that he has a brother and does not specify? Does brother usually mean elder?

I saw in the film; when the boy says he has a brother, the girl immediately knows the brother is older than him.

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Just pointing out that elder brother is a declining usage which has already been supplanted by older brother. In the US, at least half a century ago, but UK usage has caught up in the last decade or two. – FumbleFingers Nov 9 '11 at 14:48
@FumbleFingers Wow,seems our English book is totally outdated! Thanks^^ – liuyanghejerry Nov 10 '11 at 8:00
up vote 12 down vote accepted

I've not seen the movie, but the word brother itself doesn't indicate whether the sibling is elder or younger. If the girl did immediately know the brother was older, she must have been able to infer it from context or have some a priori knowledge.

Usually when you need to specify the relative age of a sibling, you'll use something like:

my older/younger brother

You'll also frequently see a "size" adjective substituted for a strict age comparative, usually among children (where there's a stronger correlation between size and age than in adults):

my big/little sister

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I like the hidden (and likely accidental) sad face. – user11550 Nov 9 '11 at 5:00
Thanks, this seems a reasonable answer. – liuyanghejerry Nov 9 '11 at 5:07
@liuyanghejerry I agree with Dusty. I just want to add that the title of the film is "Diary of a Wimpy Kid", assuming the boy you are referring to is the wimpy kid in question, so the girl could infer that he is the younger brother because he is wimpy, and therefore small, and so probably smaller than his brother. – Matt E. Эллен Nov 9 '11 at 11:15
@MattЭллен Nice point! And I reviewed the film found that the girl have met his brother before. So she knew his brother is older. – liuyanghejerry Nov 10 '11 at 7:59

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