1

The greatest beneficiaries have been rich people and people over age 35.

This is a sentence I am writing. I feel uncertain about the noun phrase at the end. I know these two versions should be correct:

The greatest beneficiaries have been rich people and people over 35.
The greatest beneficiaries have been rich people and people over the age of 35.

But are the following variants correct as well?

The greatest beneficiaries have been rich people and people over age 35.
The greatest beneficiaries have been rich people and people over the age 35.

Also I wonder if I can use "greatest" with "beneficiaries". Or should it be changed to "the biggest beneficiaries"?

3

As you say, the first two versions are preferred. You can also say

The greatest beneficiaries have been rich people and people over age 35.

with no problems. However, I would avoid your fourth example. You would really need an "of" there to make it sound right.

"Greatest" is OK with "beneficiaries," but not amazing. You can also use "biggest" but it sounds a little like something an uneducated person would say. Personally, I'd say

The primary beneficiaries have been the rich and people over the age of 35.

or

The main beneficiaries have been the rich and people over the age of 35.

Note that using "the rich" in this manner has political overtones. The phrase is so often used when criticizing wealthy people as a group or policies that benefit them that it almost sounds odd in different contexts. Since your sentence appears to be criticizing something that benefits rich people, I think it's appropriate here.

  • Thank you for the answer. I also appreciate your footnote. In my actual sentence I use a totally different and more lengthy term instead of "the rich". I substituted "the rich" here for simplicity. – Eddie Kal Oct 11 '18 at 23:43

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