Monday, November 26, 2007

AP Style Change - Ages (common sense reigns)

Hallelujah -- common sense returns to the AP stylebook when it comes to ages. Today's style change puts things back the way they were before the ill-advised change a couple of years ago that had us spelling out one to nine for "inanimates" and using figures in all other uses.


Always use figures for people, animals and inanimates: The girl is 15 years old; the law is 8 years old; the 101-year-old house. When the context does not require years or years old, the figure is presumed to be years.
Use hyphens for ages expressed as adjectives before a noun or as substitutes for a noun.
Examples: A 5-year-old boy, but the boy is 5 years old. The boy, 7, has a sister, 10. The woman, 26, has a daughter 2 months old. The race is for 3-year-olds. The woman is in her 30s (no apostrophe).
See also boy; girl; infant; youth and numerals.
See comma in punctuation guidelines.

So sayeth the stylebook. Let us not render it asunder again.

Well, actually, I still think the AP should just say write out one to nine for everything except those few cases such as when a dollar sign is used. But I'll take what I can get, and any time I can get common sense back in the game, it's a good day.

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At 11/24/15, 10:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do some editing of medical articles, which often refer to events occurring in persons of different age ranges. What is the proper method of writing 15-24 year olds? Is it 15-24-year-olds, or is there a better way?

At 11/24/15, 11:44 AM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...

Use suspensive hyphenation:
15- to 24-year-olds

At 12/16/15, 10:53 AM, Blogger tbs said...

What about the style for this sentence: children age 5 to 18, or children ages 5 to 18, or children ranging in age from 5 to 18???? What's the best way of referencing an age range?

At 12/16/15, 1:09 PM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...

Children ages 5 to 18 would be the preferred form. (Correcting to 18; in my original I mistyped 8.)

At 9/10/17, 4:47 PM, Blogger Randolph Hermatz said...

Hey Doug, didn't you mean to say "Let us not REND asunder..."?

At 9/10/17, 5:11 PM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...

Randolph: I was trying to be cheeky. Should have put it in quotes. :)

At 2/19/18, 3:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How would you write 'my almost three-year-old' or my almost-three year old' or 'my almost-three-year old daughter'

At 2/28/18, 11:06 AM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...

Under AP, it would be my almost 3-year-old daughter.


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