What is the correct spelling of 14

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In a nutshell

Spelling of digits with -years and -years

If under-18s meet over-16s, we are probably dealing with 17-year-olds. There are some uncertainties with the spelling of digits in connection with -year, which should be clarified here.

According to the old spelling, there was no difference between adjective and nouning in age designations written with numbers: the twelve-year-old boy was "the twelve-year-old boy" and the twelve-year-old was "the twelve year old". The spelling reform brought two innovations here: On the one hand, according to the new spelling, a hyphen is set between number and "year old", on the other hand, the nouns are capitalized after the hyphen: the 12 year old boy, but: the 12 year old. So far, so easy.

Difficulties are often caused by the connections with "under" or "over", as shown in the introductory sentence. The following applies here: "under" and "over" are more specific and are not written together with the age, but - like an adverb - simply put in front of it: those over fifty or those over 50 (wrong: "those over fifty"; wrong: "those over 50"). Corresponding: those under 18 years of age; the almost 80-year-old; the already 90-year-old.

Another stumbling block is specifying an age range: Fourteen to eighteen year olds is written with numbers: 14 to 18 year olds. Often there is a tendency to leave out the supplementary dash after the first number, since the word "to" follows afterwards (incorrect: "14 to 18 year olds"). Actual is just the spelling 14 to 18 year olds correct, since it is an abbreviation of the spelling "14-year-olds to 18-year olds". Shortened again with the to sign, this results in the following notation: the 14-18 year olds. Please note that the first dash (the to sign) should ideally be longer than the hyphen and match the length of the dash.

Finally, it should be pointed out that compounds with “-year” can of course also denote a period of time in addition to the age: the five year old or 5 year old Stay abroad. The correct delimitation of "-annual" must be observed here: for one two year old Vacation you are on vacation for two years, with one biennial Holidays are taken every two years.

And what about the "50th anniversary"? Basically, the critics are right when they object that the anniversary will not be 50 years old after all. However, this form has meanwhile passed into linguistic usage and is so common that it can no longer be regarded as wrong - especially since the linguistic alternatives, e.g. B. make the "50th anniversary" rather cumbersome.

Julian von Heyl on 11/27/12 | Comments (5) | Visits: 9551

Section briefly explained:

The German language is riddled with pitfalls. Here we address selected problem cases and provide brief explanations and definitions of spelling, grammar and practical application.


1 anonymous

A better equivalent for "50th anniversary" would not be "Jubilee of 50th anniversary", but rather "50th anniversary (of existence)". See also: Wikipedia article about "Jubilee"

Posted by anonymous on 04/03/13 3:47 PM

2 Julian von Heyl

Wikipedia says: “Today it has become common practice to call every annual return an anniversary.” In the language I know, this has not yet become commonplace, and even the dictionaries have not noticed anything. In this respect, the Wikipedia statement should first be questioned rather than being able to derive questionable forms such as "50th anniversary" from it.

Written by Julian von Heyl on 04/03/13 4:03 PM

3 Holger

Here are a few comments:
a) My teachers (long before RSR) were of the opinion that numerals smaller than 13 should be written out; so every two years, not every two years, etc .; ten-, eleven- and twelve-year class reunions.
b) Whether an anniversary or an existence is said / written, I find both good, where it is not about people. So about companies, corporations, etc. In comparison with English, where it says' anniversary ". I mean: I think it's stupid when a club or company celebrates a '25th birthday '. German would therefore be '25th anniversary' (of the existence / since the foundation) possible.
c) I find the use of the descriptions from the wedding day calendar cunning: golden company anniversary, silver divorce, etc.

Written by Holger on 11/15/15 6:23 PM

4 Ulrich

Hello Julian von Heyl!

I agree with everything except the paragraph that talks about "under" and "over". These two words are more specific in this case. That's right. But what are you referring to? They don't refer to the whole word "50 year olds". If it were, your spelling would be correct. However, they refer solely to the number or the numeral "50". Only "over-50s" is therefore logical.

We have a similar example with the church name "St. Josefs-Kirche". "St. Josefs-Kirche" or "St. Josefskirche" is often incorrectly written. The term "Saint" means "holy" and does not refer to the church, but to St. Joseph, after whom it is named. Written with space between words, however, the church would be holy.

If the three terms are written in one word, this logically also applies to "those over 50". I don't know who determined the notation given. In any case, I do not consider them sensible or logical.

Written by Ulrich on 3/24/17 5:42 PM

5 R. Mulde

Regulations, instructions, ... First of all, it is important that "in this our country" (H.Kohl) everyone can write as he or she likes. It has been found to be quite practical that this is done in such a way that it can be easily understood.

Refinements such as the forced subjunctive after indirect speech are desirable, but not to be found everywhere in the group of participants, because you know or suspect what should be said.

Because this point of view threatens to torpedo the endeavors of the author of this page (and led to difficulties in the grading in German lessons), who is obviously concerned with the "correct" form of the German language, I withdraw what I have just said, blushing with shame.

Let's leave aside what the usual guidebooks like Wahrig, Duden and even the unreliable Wikipedia have to say: What reason can there be not to write "81 years old" and instead use a hyphen (or is that a minus sign?) In to tinker the text?

Language or the development of language rarely follows regulations. The big (now suffering) newspaper and book publishers are more likely to set the pace, provided that people today still read anything other than what is on their mobile phones or on the menu.

By the way: I personally (!) Prefer "17 years old" because it is the shortest.

Posted by R. Mulde on 05/02/21 3:41 AM

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