I'm asking about whether or not this phrase is grammatically correct: 'children 12 and under'.

I am also asking for a general analysis of constructions of this type.

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    It might be better to say children aged 12 and under, but there is nothing wrong with it. Why do you think there is? – TrevorD Jun 22 '13 at 17:57
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    You're asking if it's correct, but not explaining why you are unsure or telling us how you tried to find an answer before asking for expert help. Please edit the question. – MetaEd Jun 22 '13 at 18:33
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    @MετάEd there's an obvious fix for this question, and it's easier to fix it than to downvote and heckle in the comment section. – user31341 Jun 22 '13 at 21:36
  • @jlovegren Please limit your comments to constructive advice for the OP. If you feel my comment was unconstructive please flag it for moderator review or ping me in chat. – MetaEd Jun 23 '13 at 7:13
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    Was a comment by @MετάEd deleted? Because the two I see at this point are both appropriate and reasonable, imho. – John M. Landsberg Jun 23 '13 at 8:02

Yes, it is correct. This is a type of construction where a plural or indefinite noun has a "range" modifier. When I think of examples, some of them allow of to be inserted before the modifier, others don't.

  • Any red bass [*of] 36 in. or shorter must be thrown back.
  • Knives [*of] 5 in. or under are permitted on campus.
  • Teams [*of] three games or more behind historically do not come back this late in the season.
  • Children [*of] 12 (years) and older are admitted.
  • Burns [of] second degree or more require hospitalization.
  • Test takers [*of] 30 minutes late or later will be locked out.

See the comment below on the parallel with this and the types of sentences said in early generative grammar to be formed by "whiz deletion".

  • No, this is just Whiz deletion for Children who are 12 or under . . . . – tchrist Jun 22 '13 at 20:34
  • @tchrist good observation drawing attention to the similarity, but note some complications when you try to get the alternations Dr. Lawler points out: you can't say "12 children" (where "children who are 12" is intended) without changing the meaning. though with the other examples you can make that alternation. likewise with "a total [of] five or higher is passing": if it were whiz deletion, then the unacceptability of "*a total five is passing" should be fixed by saying "*a five total is passing", but it's not... – user31341 Jun 22 '13 at 21:42
  • yes, age should be in there....some have said that children can't be both 12 and under 12 but I disagree because children is plural.....am I right? – user46528 Jun 22 '13 at 22:44
  • @user46528 you are right. – user31341 Jun 23 '13 at 2:41

Yes if "12" is implicitly understood to mean "who are 12 years old" (and if "are 12 years old" is implicitly understood to mean "have reached the 12th anniversary of their birth but have not yet reached the 13th anniversary"). "Under 12" then implies "younger than 12 years old".

No if you think this is not clearly implied or understood.

I would go with the former.

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