Which one is formal or widely used in writing? 'aged 11-17' or 'aged 11 to 17 years' or 'aged 11 to 17'

The complete phrase is 'students aged 11 to 17'

  • 1
    All of them are used widely and none of them are superior in its level of formality than the other. – Varun Nair Jan 8 '16 at 12:03
  • @VarunKN I agree, you can write any of them. – Max Goodridge Jan 8 '16 at 12:18
  • 1
    Personally, I prefer "ages" over "aged"... "Children ages 11-17"... etc. But, yes, all of the forms are fine. – Catija Jan 8 '16 at 15:53
  • "11 to 17 year old students" would be a formal alternative – Peter Jan 8 '16 at 18:19

You can write any of them. It is personal preference as to whichever one you choose as they are all perfectly valid. All of them are widely used, writing 11-17 is just a shorthand way of saying 11 to 17 (years).

You only need to say "years" if you want to clarify that it is not 11-17 minutes or 11-17 hours. Otherwise people will tend to assume you mean 11-17 years based on the context.

  • With ages, it can be good to specify years as people do regularly refer to infants as being X months old. – Catija Jan 8 '16 at 15:51
  • I guess it depends on the context and who you are talking to, the majority of the time when you talk about age you will say X years, rather than months unless you are talking to someone with an infant. – Max Goodridge Jan 8 '16 at 17:56
  • @Catija I feel like you'd always specify months. If someone showed me an infant and said, "he's six", I would assume I misunderstood who we were talking about before thinking months. – Paul Jan 8 '16 at 21:54
  • @Paul Yes, generally years is assumed – Max Goodridge Jan 8 '16 at 21:56

As I mentioned in my comment, all three are used extensively. But, since you've used "Aged", you need not add a "years" at the end of the sentence. It seems redundant, which can be avoided. Then the question is "To use a hyphen or a "to". To avoid any sort of foolish interpretation, and to make it fool-proof, I suggest you use "to". I had this friend who read out a sentence which was written as :

"Trainee Package (1 Month) : 12,000 - 15,000"

and that brilliantly stupid girl asked me why they were subtracting a greater amount from a smaller amount and wanted to know whether we had to pay them an amount of 3,000 back to the company. Yes, there are people like that. So make it as clear as it can be.

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