Use of year old or years old

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Penny

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When using 1 1/2 year old:
1. Is it year old or year-old?
2. Is it ever years old e.g. At 1 1/2 years old... A 1 1/2 year old....
Help??
 
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Nahualli

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Penny said:
When using 1 1/2 year old:
1. Is it year old or year-old?
2. Is it ever years old e.g. At 1 1/2 years old... A 1 1/2 year old....
Help??
"X year old" is a phrase that can be either an adjective or a construct of the verb "to be" (I guess this technically makes it an adverb... sorta)

When used as an adjective the correct thing to say is "year old"

"You have an 8-year old child"

When used as a verb construct it must agree with the noun in terms of quantity.

"My child is 8 years old"
"My child is 1 year old"

-Nah-
 

Tomasz Klimkiewicz

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Hello Nah,

It's a great explanation you've given, but I think the original post was about using the singular or plural of the noun 'year' in the particular case when the period of time in question is 1 1/2 (one and a half year? years?). I myself have some doubts, too. I would probably use '1 1/2 years old', but I'm not 100% sure. '18 months' would be a nice way to circumvent the problem ('when in doubt, leave it out...').

Cheers!

Tomasz
 
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Penny

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Tom, your right. My question was two fold
1. is it with or without a hyphen?
2. Is either or both of the examples I gave correct?
 
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Nahualli

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Sorry, I didn't mean to gloss over your question, I assumed it was inferred that 1 1/2 is plural since it's, by definition, more than one.

A very common misstep people take at least here in the States is to say "1 1/2 year old" which is wrong, but it's used a lot anyways, kind of like the word "irregardless" which is not considered a proper English word and has been much maligned over time, but it's a very real word to tens of millions of people.

So in answer to your first question, no hyphen. In answer to your second question, well that's tricky because you cited both forms and both are correct under the right circumstances. Let me summarize.

"My kid is one and a half years old"
"My kid is a year and a half old"

Does this make sense? Technically you can use either construct, but with the number you gave me, which is 1 1/2, the correct form is to use it as a plural.

When you're writing out sentences with numerals, try to avoid acutally using numerals. Use the equivalent words for then insteas. Writing numerals in a sentence is considered a shortcut but the downside is that it can present some odd paradoxes that don't always make sense.

-Nah-
 
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Penny

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Thanks, that is what I needed. I have some very picky people who love to tear up what we write and this was very hard to find and created a lot of discussion in my office.
 

abjv

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What if it is used as a noun? For example, I would say, "The twelve year old frowned absently as the teacher droned on." Is this correct? ***
 
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