Friday, April 12, 2013

Grammar Day: Hyphens and Ages

Grammar is a tricky subject. With all the rules and exceptions, how can a person keep track? I can't answer that, but I can help with little pieces here and there.

Today's Topic: Hyphens and Ages

Basic Rule: When the age describes a noun, there should be hyphens. If not, they don't belong.
The three-year-old girl liked to dance.
The age describes girl.
The three year old was happy.
The giggling girl was three years old.
Giggling describes girl, not the age.

This is true, no matter how old the person, animal, or object is.
 A fifteen-year-old dog was sleeping on the rug.
The man was twenty seven when he quit his job. 
The five-hundred-year-old map let them to the treasure.
Why? This helps avoid misinterpretations. After all, there aren't 500 maps that are a year old. Just a single, ancient one...that I'd really like to find.

I love to learn; let me know what I'm forgetting!

Have a grammatical question? Email me at to learn the answer--and have your question featured in an upcoming Grammar Day post! I'm here to help and encourage in any way I can.

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