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I just read the expression "a more senior colleague" in another stackexchange forum. I am not a native speaker but this sounds wrong to me: to my ear "senior" means "older", so "more senior" sounds like "more older" to me.

So which is correct, "a senior colleague" or "a more senior colleague"? Or are both expressions correct?

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It is correct. A senior colleague is one that has been with the company longer than you. A more senior colleague is one that has been with the company longer than another that has more seniority than you.

So a junior colleague might ask of you "When was the company founded?" and you, not knowing when, might reply "I don't know. Let's ask a more senior colleague."

"More senior" is to "senior" what "even older" is to "older".

  • I think I understand. So what if there are only two colleagues in the discussion, e.g. some colleague and I. Should I say: "I spoke about this with a senior colleague" or "I spoke about this with a more senior colleague"? Or can I say both sentences, with a difference in meaning? – Giorgio Mar 24 '17 at 16:45
  • I'd more likely go with "I spoke about this with a more senior colleague" as it better expresses that it's a relative ranking of seniority, not an absolute one. – Rob K Mar 24 '17 at 17:18
  • So it seems to me than "more senior" is to "senior" what "older" is to "old". – Giorgio Mar 24 '17 at 17:38
  • Correct. Some words, you stick "-er" or "-est" on the end. Others, you say "more X" or "most X". – Rob K Mar 24 '17 at 18:25
  • @Giorgio - Part of the problem is that you think “senior’ means “older”. That’s close, but not exact. Instead, think of it this way: “senior” means “experienced” – then you will see why “more senior” works okay. – J.R. Mar 25 '17 at 0:45

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