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?


1 Answer 1


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, 2013 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, 2013 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, 2013 at 18:53

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