One for the ages

Here’s one for the ages — or at least the current AP style rule for how to say how old something or someone is. (Sorry, couldn’t help it.)

Guidelines for writing ages

For people and animals, always use numerals.

Little Johnny turned 4 years old today.

Sparky, the oldest golden retriever in the world, is 19 years old.

– For all other nouns (including products), write out numbers less than 10.

My MacBook Pro is four years old.

This book is three years old.

– Use hyphens for ages expressed as modifiers (before a noun) or as substitutes for nouns.

Their 2-year-old daughter usually has tantrums before bedtime.

This birthday party is for 5-year-olds.

– Use numerals when expressing age ranges as decades (see example). Do not use apostrophes.

I cringe when I see men in their 60s dating women in their 20s (and vice versa).

– When the context does not specify, the age is presumed to be years. Also, write out the number if it starts a sentence.

I’m 50! Fifty years old…


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