The fol­low­ing is a read­er sub­mis­sion.

How do you write out the age of a per­son? Is it cor­rect to write: 48-year-old or 48 year-old?

Hi Amy,

Thanks for the great ques­tion. It’s actu­al­ly a pret­ty sim­ple answer.

If you use the phrase as a noun, you use hyphens (e.g. The 48-year-old ate at the din­er). If you use the phrase as an adjec­tive, you omit the hyphens (e.g. The diner’s patron was 48 years old).

I hope this clears it up for you.


Update (9 Sep 2015): As sug­gest­ed by Ker­ry Lewis, you also hyphen­ate when using a com­pound adjec­tive:

Email me your gram­mar ques­tions. I’ll be sure to post the ques­tion and answer here.

About Kim Siever

I am a copy­writer and copy­ed­i­tor. I blog on writ­ing and social media tips most­ly, but I some­times throw in my thoughts about run­ning a small busi­ness. Fol­low me on Twit­ter at @hotpepper.

Free monthlywriting &social media tips!

Free monthlywriting &social media tips!

Sign up to receive monthly writing and social media tips.

Thanks for signing up for our monthly writing tips!

Pin It on Pinterest