Ils ont une vingtaine d'années


Senior Member
English United States
I know the connotative distinction between "annees" and "an," insofar as annees expresses blocks of time (as opposed, perhaps, to the mere concept of time of 'an'?).

Yesterday discussing the student/young employee crisis in Paris Match, I had trouble understanding the phrase in the thread title. Is it "They're on average twenty years old?"

Thank you.
  • Rouleau

    Senior Member
    English United States
    Oh brother, my first post on, and I got the subject header wrong. My apologies. The Paris Match phrase I need help with is "Ages d'une vintaine d'annees."

    Again apologies.


    English; Australia
    I just translated into English an article about a hold-up attempt on a taxi driver in Montreal. The article reads in part:

    Le chauffeur du véhicule avait fait monter à bord un homme et une femme âgés dans la vingtaine.

    I translated this as 'aged in their twenties'.

    It occurred to me that this might not have been correct, which is how I came to visit this thread. Most of you are saying that 'ils ont une vingtaine d'années' means 'they are aged about twenty' but the reply from cirrus read in part:

    'Around 20 years old any good to you? In their twenties?'

    Does this mean that 'dans la vingtaine' can mean either 'about twenty' OR 'in their twenties'?

    They are not synonymous. For example, a person aged 19 is about twenty but is not in their twenties. Conversely, a person aged 29 is in their twenties but is not about twenty.

    I am also puzzled by the thread:

    Post # 1, from Rouleau, is entitled:
    Ils ont une vingtaine d'années (Paris Match)

    But then post # 2, from pieanne, is entitled:
    Re: Ils ont une vingtieme d'annees (Paris Match)

    The mistake appears to have occurred sometime between those two posts.
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