is it five-and-a-half years or five and a half years


hyphens or not? five-and-a-half yearsor fivc and a half years?

asked May 15 '12 at 18:23 FRANCES ALLEN New member

1 answer


Tolley is right in that one-half always gets a hyphen.  Whether other hyphens are added depends upon how the phrase is used (and which style guide you follow).


According the Chicago Manual of Style, age terms (whether adjectives or nouns) are generally always hyphenated, but notes two exceptions as shown below.


A five-and-one-half-year-old, a five-year-old child, but he is five and one-half years old and he is five and one-half years of age.


For most other uses of numbers, Chicago says add hyphens when used as an adjective, but leave open when used as a noun.


Other style manuals may vary. 

link answered May 15 '12 at 19:29 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

What about if you are writing dialogue for a script or novel and you want to use the more casual "a-half" (like above question), rather than the proper "one-half" - would you still use the hyphen? "Five-and-a-half-year-old" Thanks!

Jennifer HOct 08 '13 at 16:33

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