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An old man came in the door.

An older man came in the door.

Is it natural to use "older" to describe someone without comparing him to someone younger? If yes, is it just as natural as using "old"?

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anonymous

An old man came in the door.

An older man came in the door.

Is it natural to use "older" to describe someone without comparing him to someone younger? If yes, is it just as natural as using "old"?

Rarely, we use the comparative form, but not to make a direct comparison between two things.

"older" here means not very old, but older than average.

The only other example I can think of is "newer". I once heard it used to describe a house that was not brand new, but it had been built less than five years ago. "It's a newer house."

I'm not sure, but this usage may be an Americanism. In that case it's natural in American English, but maybe not in other varieties of English.

CJ

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There should a context with a group people of a certain age range. The man who came in was older than this group. Also the speaker could be comparing the man with himself.