17 year old / 17 years old

Cyphor

Member
India - Kannada
Often I get confused with this. When we talk about someone's age, should we say, for example, "He is 17 year old" or "He is 17 years old"?

Similar ones can be references to height and distance such as "A 50 foot/feet tall pillar" and "A 9 mile/miles journey".

Is there a usage rule you could think of in this matter?
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    He is 17 years old. He's a 17-year-old boy.
    The pillar is 50 feet tall. It's a 50-foot-tall pillar. (Note change to singular "foot" when it's used as an adjective.)
    The trip is nine miles. It's a nine-mile trip. (Again, the singular "mile" for the adjective form.)
     

    Bevj

    Allegra Moderata (Sp/Eng, Cat)
    English (U.K.)
    He is 17 years old. He's a 17-year-old boy.
    The pillar is 50 feet tall. It's a 50-foot-tall pillar. (Note change to singular "foot" when it's used as an adjective.)
    The trip is nine miles. It's a nine-mile trip. (Again, the singular "mile" for the adjective form.)
    I agree.
    The difference is that when (e.g.) 17-year-old is followed by a noun, it's singular. When it stands on its own, the plural is used.

    My brother is 10 years old.
    I have a 10-year-old brother.
     

    spodulike

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I agree.
    The difference is that when (e.g.) 17-year-old is followed by a noun, it's singular. When it stands on its own, the plural is used.

    My brother is 10 years old.
    I have a 10-year-old brother.
    I agree with the fact but not with the reason. For example ...

    I have a ten-year-old.

    It isn´t followed by a noun but it is still correct. It means that my child is aged ten.
     

    Bevj

    Allegra Moderata (Sp/Eng, Cat)
    English (U.K.)
    I agree with the fact but not with the reason. For example ...

    I have a ten-year-old.

    It isn´t followed by a noun but it is still correct. It means that my child is aged ten.
    You are correct, but it would of course depend on the conversation :)
     
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