Submitted by destabilizer on November 14, 2002
Am I 38 years old, or 38 year old, and why.
November 14, 2002, 5:18pm
My take on it is:You are a 38 year old man.And.You are 38 years old.When "year old" is a modifier to "man", it's singular.
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November 21, 2002, 9:44pm
You would usually put hyphens in 'a 38-year-old man'. It's easier to differentiate that way. I think the AP style uses this.
March 17, 2003, 11:06pm
Biks is right about the hyphenation. The rule there is that "38-year-old" is a compound adjective -- a group of words functioning as a single adjective -- and therefore hyphenated. Other examples: a coke-bottle-shaped vase; a full-throttle spread-eagle spare-no-expense business presentation.
November 25, 2003, 2:25pm
Typcially, the hyphenation would be "38-year old man." * 38-year modifies old* old - which we already know is 38 - modifies man.
If you want to get dates online, though, it would be better to type "I am an 18-year old lesbian with hot, barely legal friends."
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