Recently, for a scientific publication, I wrote something like the following:

The sample consisted of all students at the age of 13 years or older.

However, I received this back from the language check changed into the following:

The sample consisted of all students who were 13 years of age or older.

While I see that the second versions indeed sounds a little nicer, I was wondering if the first version would be correct from a grammatical point of view when it is used for describing a group of people as opposed to, say, for describing the age of a person at which an event has occured.

Can I use "at the age of" for describing a group of people? If not, would anyone able to clarify the correct use of this phrase?

  • It's technically correct (other than the misplaced "all") but sounds awkward. – Hot Licks Nov 21 '16 at 13:35
  • 1
    The problem here is the preposition "at". You might have written "aged 13 or older" and that would be idiomatic. In a scientific paper, however, you don't say "or older". Since you know all their ages, you have to be accurate: from 13 to 67 years of age. – Centaurus Nov 21 '16 at 13:37
  • @Hot Licks: That was a typo. Thank you for pointing it out. – SimonG Nov 21 '16 at 13:51

Since this is a scientific paper, if you wanted to include the number, you could also say "consisted of all students who were 13 years of age or older (n=158)."

A phrase often used to describe an age group is cohort:

(definition 6) a group of persons sharing a particular statistical or demographic characteristic: the cohort of all children born in 1980

Here is a picture using "age cohort" to illustrate.

age cohort image

So I might rewrite the sentence as:

The sample consisted of all students (n=158) in the age cohort over 13.

  • Thank you, @rajah9. Please also see my comment on the OP. The "of 158 all students" was a typo. – SimonG Nov 21 '16 at 13:52
  • I have edited out the parts referring to the typo. Thank you for accepting the answer. – rajah9 Nov 25 '16 at 15:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.