"He is older than her."
Translation:Il est plus vieux qu'elle.
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Most of the time we don't use "ancien" (as an adjective) for people, at least not for the meaning "old" (age).
We can use it however to mean "old" (ex-) for someone who lost his position (or anything like that):
- l'ancien entraîneur de l'équipe
We can also use it to mean "old" (age) as a noun:
- les anciens de ce village
Because adjectives are used with what we call in French "un verbe d'état" (a stative verb).
Here are all the stative verbs in French :
"être, devenir, paraître, sembler, demeurer, rester, avoir l'air, passer pour"
When adjectives are used with such verbs they're called "adjectif attribut".
Of course they can be used without a verb as well, then they're either "adjectif épithète" (not separated from the noun) or "adjectif apposé" (separated from the noun by a comma).
Watch out because it seems that English names for these categories are misleading. For example it seems that "adjectif épithète" is called "attributive adjective" in English.