Consider the sentence - "A fifty year old man is walking in the garden."
Shouldn't it be 'fifty years old' or 'fifty-year old' or something else maybe? Is the original usage correct?


In AP style, all ages are written as numerals. You would only hyphenate the age if it is an adjective. Therefore, the correct way to write the sentence would be: A 50-year-old man was walking in the garden.

  • Only British English please.
    – Suy
    Oct 14 '13 at 18:02
  • Written English has no dialect, because you can't hear it. The important point -- and it's important to all English versions, is that only a single-word adjective can precede the noun; all adjectives of more than one word follow the noun. So, if writing English, either fifty-year-old man or 50-year-old man is correct. As long as it's only one word, typographically and grammatically. Oct 14 '13 at 18:27
  • It's also possible to use the hyphenated phrase as a noun, not adverting to the individual's gender (or species, though human being is strongly implied unless you've just been talking about, say, Galapagos tortoises): "A fifty-year-old is walking in the garden." And you can reframe the wording to get rid of the hyphens if for some reason you don't like them: "A man, fifty years old, is walking in the garden." But certainly the standard handling of the situation is the one that naish2013 gives.
    – Sven Yargs
    Oct 14 '13 at 18:53

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