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Should I use 'has' or 'is'?

  1. My son has 21 years old.
  2. My son is 21 years old.
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  • In Spanish, you would say, "Mi hijo tienes viente-cinco aÑos," which translated literally means "My son has 25 years," but which is understood to mean "My son is 25 years old." Feb 4, 2014 at 19:08
  • In French it is the same way. They have years, instead of being years old.
    – BobRodes
    Feb 4, 2014 at 20:05
  • 1
    No, in Spanish you would say, "Mi hijo tiene veinticinco años.
    – user26732
    Feb 4, 2014 at 20:06

2 Answers 2

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To describe someone's age, height, weight, size, shape, and so on, we use the verb to be.

So you should use is in your question, not has:

My son is 21 years old.

You can think of this "21 years old" as an adjective phrase. Adjectives are words we use to describe things. You can also think of this X years old phrase the same way as old when you say "He is old." For example,

That man is very old. He is a professional cyclist!
How old is he?
He's 102 years old!

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  • +1 BUT He's a hundred-and-two-year-old man, singular year. OP should not ask Why, there's no reason, it just is. Feb 4, 2014 at 18:46
  • @StoneyB Actually, there is a semi-consistent rule in English that when a noun (such as "year") is used in a modifier before a noun, it should be singular. Feb 4, 2014 at 23:30
  • @andybalholm Quite so. But the rule is as far as I know completely unmotivated and arbitrary. Feb 4, 2014 at 23:34
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To express age, we use the verb to be, so

Your son is 21 years old.

Other examples:

How old are you?

I am 39.

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