a boy of 12 (years of age)

Ume

Banned
Japanese
The M-W Learner's Dictionary says:

age
--used to indicate a quality or characteristic that someone or something has
- a boy of 12 (years of age)
Is "a boy of 12 years" incorrect?
 
  • Ume

    Banned
    Japanese
    Thank you, everyone.

    1. a 12-year-old boy
    2. a boy of 12
    3. a boy of 12 years of age

    I agree with Rover and Bill that #1 is more common than the others. However, let's talk about whether it's incorrect to say "a boy of 12 years" to mean "a boy of 12."
     
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    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    Hello dear sister,
    A boy of 12 means he is twelve,he is at the age of 12
    A boy of 12 years,probably means one has a boy for 12 years or other possible situations, it will be ambiguous without context.
    It is totally different.
    Apropos,more common should be commoner.
    Thank you once more for translating the sentence.

    Silver
     
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    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Another possible point of confusion:
    A mother of 32 means a 32-year-old mother.
    A mother of 3 means the mother of three children.

    I suppose a mother of 14 could be one or the other...
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Thank you, everyone.

    1. a 12-year-old boy
    2. a boy of 12
    3. a boy of 12 years of age

    I agree with Rover and Bill that #1 is more common than the others. However, let's talk about whether it's incorrect to say "a boy of 12 years" to mean "a boy of 12."
    No-one has answered this specifically, have they? It's too "black and white" for many. Given that different speakers will have different views on some subjects and the language evolves and there is no official governing body (who would obey, anyway?) to declare what is "correct" or "incorrect" in every instance, and since this seems so critical to you, perhaps you can help us out by clarifying your use of the word "incorrect"? :D Note that "rules" are derived from how people speak and not the other way round.

    It is unambiguously clear in terms of success in communication: the boy's age is 12 years. So, "a boy of 12 years" Unacceptable, different, unusual, rare or "wrong"?

    I was impressed when I was learning to find that in Japanese the word often used to express the English word "wrong", actually translates to "different".
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    "Black and white" answer coming up ... ;)

    "A boy of twelve years" is not incorrect: it just sounds a bit Dickensian.
     

    Billf

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Thank you, everyone.

    1. a 12-year-old boy
    2. a boy of 12
    3. a boy of 12 years of age

    I agree with Rover and Bill that #1 is more common than the others. However, let's talk about whether it's incorrect to say "a boy of 12 years" to mean "a boy of 12."

    At risk of appearing pedantic, I thought I had answered your question in my original reply, which started "Not incorrect but..." ;)
     

    Ume

    Banned
    Japanese
    Thank you, everybody, and I'm sorry that I did displease you. I strongly blame myself for my complete lack of communication.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Indeed, I was impressed by Ume's discretion (#5 and #8) in redirecting the thread! I would have shown less patience.

    I'm with Julian: No, but ...
     
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