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Hi teachers.

I have used and taught the expression 'You look younger FOR your age.' forever but I never thought 'You look younger THAN your age.' is right. Now I looked up and the expression is everywhere.

I understand the two sentences have a nuance. I told my students 'THAN' is wrong because YOU and YOUR AGE are not compatible but I found out people seem to use it all the time. What happened to FOR? I feel like I got it wrong the whole time.

Can anyone help me with this?

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You look younger than your age. ~ You look more young than your age suggests.

You look young for your age. ~ You look young considering what your age is.


They amount to the same thing. I only use the second one.

Other examples with for meaning considering / taking into account:

You're pretty smart for a high-school drop-out.
Jake plays chess very well for a beginner.
For a low-fat dip, it tastes really rich and creamy.

CJ

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There are two similar expressions. Both are comparisons between someone's apparent age (how they look) and their chronological age (how many years old they are).

You look younger than your age. ("Younger" is a comparative form, so it requires "than" when introducing what is being compared -- Jack is quicker than Joe.) Young, Younger, Youngest

You look young for your age. ("Young" is a descriptive, so "for" is correct when modifying that descriptive -- Jack is quick for a fat man.) Young, Middle-aged, Old

There may be a subtle difference between the two sentences. The first may suggest that we know the age and are surprised at how young the person looks, while the second may suggest that we think the person looks young and are surprised at their actual age. But this is just a possible difference.


I hope this helps.

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Comments  
pen slide 883I have used and taught the expression.... I am quite surprised to hear that!
For - is ok with the example below.
A- I will be 65 in May
B- You look young for you age. For as long as I can remember, this the rule of thumb workk that is whenever you see a comparative, it is always "than" that follows.
Example: The pie tastes better than it looks.
Don't let her appearance fool you. She is alot older than she looks.
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I can't thank you enough for your explanation.

B. You look young for your age.

This is not really a comparison. The root sentence is "You look young" and is able to stand alone. (The rest is simply modifying that statement.)

But if you were making a comparison, it could not stand alone: "You look younger..." (Than who or what?).

See the difference?