a five years older brother vs a brother five years older

< Previous | Next >

cool-jupiter

Senior Member
Japanese
Hello, native speakers. I have a very subtle question. I encountered the following sentence while reading a workbook.

I have a three years older brother.

At first, this sentence seemed awkward. However, the more I thought, the more confused I become. I just can't seem to explain what's grammatically wrong with this sentence. My first instinct was, "I have a brother three years older than me." My second instinct was, "I have a three-years-older brother." This would make no difference in speech, though. If you could explain to me what this sentence really should be, it would be awesome.
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I have a brother three years older (than me, than I am).
    I have a brother who's three years older.

    What's wrong with the bold sentence is that we don't say it that way – it's too awkward. :) Plus it sounds too close to "three-year-old brother."
     

    eedeeo

    Member
    English - United States
    Hello Cool-Jupiter,
    The sentence is not correct. You can say "I have an older brother" or "I have a brother who is three years older than me." But (and I'm sorry, I don't know the reason) you can't say "I have a three years older brother."
     

    cool-jupiter

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Copyright - Thanks, as always. Your advice of it sounding too much like "three-year-old brother" is very convincing.

    eedeeo - Hello again. Thanks for posting. I'll be sure to go by your sample sentences.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top