What are the rules on hyphens in ages: 20-year-old...two hyphens?

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What are the rules on hyphens in ages: 20-year-old...two hyphens, one after year or none?  I feel as though I've seen it each way.

asked Apr 01 '13 at 12:26 Lawrence Collette New member

3 answers


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If the adjective phrase (twenty-year-old) comes before the noun it modifies, use hyphens AND no -s on 'old'; if the adjective phrase comes after the verb (usually be or some other non-action verb) AND not before a noun, don't use any hyphens and add -s on 'old.

 

My twenty-year-old cousin lives in Paris.

He is twenty years old.

He is a twenty-year-old Canadian man.

link comment edited Apr 04 '13 at 11:55 Shawn Mooney Expert
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You may have seen it both ways, but that doesn't mean both are right.

 

He's a 22-year-old man with the mind of  10-year-old.

He is 22 years old.

He fits in with the group of 10- to 12-year olds. 

He's a twenty-two-year-old man with the mind of  ten-year-old.

He is twenty years old.

He fits in with the group of ten- to twelve-year olds. 

 

SOURCE: Chicago Manual of Style

link comment answered Sep 10 at 17:51 Brach New member
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According to Shawn Mooney, the following is correct:

"The three sisters are twenty four year olds."

Just sayin'...

link answered Aug 27 at 08:44 Grammar Nazi New member

In the 1st place, integers between 21 and 99 are hyphenated. So Shawn is already wrong. In the 2nd place, it should read: The three sisters are twenty-four-year-olds.

BrachSep 10 at 19:17

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