I have a question about children's grades at school.

When two children whose age you don't know go to the same elementary school, and one is a third-grader and the other is a second-grader, which sentence can you say?

Lisa is a year older than Mary at school.

Lisa is a year above Mary at school.

  • 1
    Your use of "year" here is a bit "loose". What you mean in Lisa is in the year-group for pupils a year older than Mary. Most native speakers would probably use above in your cited context, but because you've explicitly included at school I think it would be perfectly okay (and would definitely be correctly understood) if you used older than. Obviously if you wanted to say Lisa's age was a year more than Mary's, there would be no reason to mention at school (unless this was to specifically identify the Mary at school, rather than another Mary somewhere else). Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 13:41

1 Answer 1


This one is correct:

Lisa is a year above Mary at school.

Older would mean she is literally older by one year. She certainly might be, but we would not say so with at school because age does not depend on the context.

This would also be correct and perhaps more common:

Lisa is a year ahead of Mary at school.

  • 2
    In AmE, one could use "grade" in place of "year": Lisa is a grade ahead of Mary.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 15:46

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