4

I have 3 brothers and I am the youngest. I am writing an email in which I have to mention the brother who is immediately older than me. How do I say? Should I say, "He is immediately older than me?" That sounds incorrect to me.

2

There is nothing wrong with just saying my older brother—or one of my older brothers. Both of those statements will always still be true.

But if you need to specify one older brother as opposed to the other, you can do so by using their name or by saying something like:

my older brother who is the closest in age to me
the youngest of my older brothers
my second-oldest brother

1

One solution would be to describe him as

my next oldest brother

Google Books reveals plenty of uses of this exact expression in the sense of "immediately older".

Note however that this usage of "next" relates to the order or sequence of things, and its interpretation is therefore highly context-dependent.

next
adverb

  1. in the time, place, or order nearest or immediately succeeding

    • next we drove home
    • the next closest school

If you haven't already mentioned a brother, then my next oldest brother would usually be interpreted as "the brother nearest in age older than me", exactly as you intended. However, if you've already referred to a brother, then this creates an ambiguity, since next oldest could also be interpreted as the following brother in the family order.

For example, if you have five brothers of which three are older than you, and you've already referred to the most senior brother, then "my next oldest brother" is likely to be interpreted as the second oldest of the male siblings, rather than Brother #3. Indeed, if you've already referred to all three older brothers, then "my next oldest brother" would logically be Brother #4 who, in this example, is actually younger than you!

1

My inference of the statement is as below: "I have 3 brothers and I am the 4th child"

To refer to the brother immediately older than me: Can we use "My elder brother, who is younger than the other two"

OR

"The 3rd child, who is elder than me"

PS: Mods, comments (if any) with detailed explanation.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.