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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
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    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
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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

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