Consider this example:

  • People tend to understand and use sarcasm from a young age.
  • People tend to understand and use sarcasm from young age.

Which one of these is grammatically correct and why?

closed as off-topic by tchrist, anongoodnurse, user66974, Ronan, choster Jul 1 '14 at 14:15

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  • Answer is "a young age" – mplungjan Nov 21 '13 at 7:37
  • Please never just ask “Which is correct?” It shows no effort on your part, and gives us nothing to go on. As the Help Center says in its “How to ask a good question” section: “Have you thoroughly searched for an answer before asking your question? Sharing your research helps everyone. Tell us what you found and why it didn’t meet your needs. This demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to try to help yourself, it saves us from reiterating obvious answers, and above all, it helps you get a more specific and relevant answer!” Thank you. – tchrist Jul 4 '14 at 1:58

The only example of where I would use 'young age' without an indefinite article, would be if I formed it into what is effectively a combined noun e.g. 'Young age is no excuse for misbehaviour'.

I might use 'young' by itself, such as in: 'Our dialect is something we learn from young'. Otherwise I believe that "young age" would always need to be preceded by the indefinite article, as in: 'I was taught English from a young age'.

On the other hand 'old age' can be used variously: e.g. 'She has retained her health into old age', or 'Living to a very old age is a mixed blessing', or 'Ninety-nine is an old age by any reckoning'.

Curiously 'middle-age' which tends, more often than not, to be hyphenated, never seems to take an article. e.g. 'The onset of middle-age can be a problem to some people' or 'It is a hobby people often take up in middle-age'.


You should use from a young age

The indefinite article is used before phrases of time and measurements

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  • I too search on google, found that "a young age" is more commonly used. What I was looking for is: Are there any grammatical rules to govern the issue in particular. – Aman Deep Gautam Nov 21 '13 at 7:50

The correct phrasal statement is "a young age".

  • 1
    Please add some reasons and background, so that others don't think this just an unsupported personal view. – TimLymington Nov 23 '13 at 20:14

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