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Sí, se puede decir “más mayor”.

When you study Spanish, a frequent correction you will hear is “no se debe decir “más mayor”.  That’s because if you say it, you are committing a redundancy, just as you would if you were to say “more older”. Well, it turns out that the well-intentioned folk who are trying to guide your learning have it only partly right. Truth is,  in some circumstances, you can say “más mayor”.

Let’s check in with our resident expert.


Read transcript here:

Hola, amigo lingüista. Cuando eras niño, ¿ya querías ser lingüista?
Hello, linguist friend. When you were a kid, did you want to be a linguist?

No, cuando era niño pensaba: “Cuando sea mayor, seré piloto de Fórmula Uno”.
No, as a child I thought : “When I get older, I will be a Formula One driver.”

Sin embargo, cuando tenía 17 años pensaba: “Cuando sea más mayor, estudiaré para ser lingüista.”
However, when I was 17, I thought: “When I get more older, I will study to become a linguist.”

Quieres decir: “Cuando sea mayor, estudiaré para ser lingüista”.
You mean: “When I get older, I will study to become a linguist.”

No, yo pensaba: “Cuando sea más mayor”, porque tenía 17 años y pensaba en “cuando tenga unos años más”.
No, I thought, “When I get more older” because I was 17 and I thought “when I gain a few more years.”

¿Sabes que es correcto decir “más mayor”, si no hacemos una comparación? “más mayor” significa que soy mayor y pienso en el futuro, en algunos años más.
Did You know that it’s correct to say “more older” in Spanish, if we make a comparison? “more older” means that I’m older and I think in the future, in few years from now.

“Cuando sea mayor” significa que soy niño y pienso: “Cuando sea adulto”.
“When I get older” means that I am a child and think: “When I become an adult.”

Entiendo. ¿De veras pensabas en ser piloto de Fórmula 1? ¿Qué pasó?, ¿Por qué cambiaste de opinión?
I understand. Did you really think to be a Formula 1 driver? What happened? Why did you change your mind?

Porque quería escribir el libro que finalmente estoy escribiendo. Cuando sea más mayor lo publicaré.
Because I wanted to write the book that I’m finally writing now. When I get more older I will publish it.


If you understand the importance of learning Spanish grammar, please consider enrolling in our General Spanish Online Course. We offer a range of on line Spanish courses, but in the General Spanish Course we offer a very strong focus on grammar because we believe students should learn the rules so they can communicate with confidence. We mix these lessons with plenty of Spanish conversation practice, but rules are rules, and if you don’t learn them from your teacher, who else is going to help you.


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