1. hunz1973
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    hunz1973 New Member

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    2- to 3-year olds, two- to three-year-olds, or 2-3-year-olds

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by hunz1973, Jan 27, 2009.

    Hi,

    I was wondering if I could get some opinions on the proper way to write 2- to 3-year-olds.

    Here is an example:

    "The number of 2- to 3-year-olds enrolled in daycare increase this year."

    We'd like to stick with numerals rather than writing out the numbers, but what do you think the best form is? The author I'm working for insists "2-3-year-olds" is fine, especially in social science literature, but it doesn't look good or read smoothly to me, and I think it creates confusion, whereas "2- to 3-year-olds" doesn't. Just my opinion.

    What do you think is right?

    Thanks!
     
  2. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would say "....2 and 3 year-olds..." rather than specifying a span of 2 to 3.

    Also, "increase" doesn't work. Should be "increased", "will increase", "is expected to increase" or some similar variation.
     
  3. hunz1973
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    hunz1973 New Member

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    Okay, that's fine, but imagine 4- to 6-year-olds. Also, if there is no hyphen between 3 and year, is that not saying that 2 or 3 one-year-old people?

    Thanks for your quick response.
     
  4. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    How about 'ages 2 through 3'?
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    The number of children, ages two to three, enrolled in daycare has increased this year.

    How 'bout that?
     
  6. Eli
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    Eli Member

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    Does it really need the hyphens? They just seem superfluous to me, perhaps that's why it doesn't quite read well.
     
  7. hunz1973
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    hunz1973 New Member

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    Those are good suggestions, but we use this so many times in so many articles (it's an edited volume), that we really need some for of "#- #-year-olds". I guess my question should have been, is "#-#-year-olds" correct at all?
     
  8. sorites
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    sorites Senior Member

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    I would say that 2-3-year olds is not correct, and I completely agree that it's difficult to read.

    Usually numbers under ten (and sometimes under 100) are written out. So "two" is more correct than "2" in your sentence.

    I think this is how your sentence should be written:

    The number of two- to three-year-olds enrolled in daycare increased this year.

    You might also find these links useful:
    http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/CMS_FAQ/Numbers/Numbers_questions01.html
    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070806165658AAHK8Yv
     
  9. hunz1973
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    hunz1973 New Member

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  10. perylousdemon
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    perylousdemon Member

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    Well, this topic has been batted back and forth for a few hours, but I feel like I should throw in my two cents. Both "2- to 3-year-olds" and "two- to three-year-olds" are correct, but if this is for a social science article, I would recommend using the numerals. Numbers tend not to be spelled out in most science-related texts.
     
  11. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Out of context, I can't understand WHEN this is happening. Do you mean THE NUMBER (sıngular) of children:
    HAS increased/WILL increase/IS increasing/increaseS ??? Is this going to happen, happening at the moment, or has it already happened so far?

    Maybe this is the British approach, but I would say:

    The number of 2-3 year olds enrolled in daycare WILL increase (?) this year.
    OR:
    The number of children in the 2-3 age group enrolled in daycare is increasing (?) this year.

    It's fine to use numerals for information like this.
     
  12. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    I reckon I would write it like this:

    The number of children at ages 2 to 3 years old. . .
     
  13. december00
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    december00 Member

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    saying '2 to 3 year old' is how I would do it.

    The number of 2 to 3 year old children enrolled in daycare is increasing (?) this year.
     

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