From Teflpedia

Age is how old a person is. There are some cultural issues here.

Meaning[edit | edit source]

Chinese (and possibly other far-eastern) students may answer incorrectly as they will tend to give the age that they will become on their birthday in the current calendar year, rather than the English-speaking custom of giving current age. They may for example say "I am 11" when they are actually 10 and won’t be 11 until their 11th birthday in several months' time.

Form[edit | edit source]

In English, we usually use be with a number and sometimes "years old". The question form is "How old are you?". In Romance languages you may get errors due to literal translation, e.g. a French speaker may say "I have 13 years", a literal translation of the French "j'ai treize ans", a more accurate translation being "I am 13" or "I am 13 years old".

Also, note that use of "year old" as a noun modifier must be singular, even when the number is plural, so we say e.g. "an 11-year old boy" not *"an 11-years old boy".

Appropriacy[edit | edit source]

Finally, it is generally considered rudely inappropriate to ask an adult, particularly a woman,[1] their age. If needed, it is often better to ask for someone’s date of birth, as that is usually needed for form-filling. It is however acceptable for an adult to ask a child their age.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. (yes, this is sexist)