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School-AgeD? Pint-SizeD? Is “D” Required?

To D or not to D?

I published my monthly newsletter today, and it included the phrase “Olympic-size pool.” But should it have been an “Olympic-sized pool?”

A subscriber wrote and asked the -sized question. She also wondered whether to wear a striped shirt or a stripe shirt.

Her questions reminded me of my indecision about “school-aged” and “school-age” children.

So here is just about everything you need to know about to D or not to D with size, age, and stripe:

Size vs. Sized. You get to choose! Both “pint-sized pajamas” and “pint-size pajamas” are correct.

If you need a style manual to convince you, here’s The Gregg Reference Manual (Gregg): 

Compound adjectives ending in sized (such as pint-sized, pocket-sized, life-sized, full-sized, giant-sized, king-sized, queen-sized, and twin-sized) are commonly written without the final d. 

Gregg offers this sentence as an example:

Our community center is building an Olympic-size pool.

The Chicago Manual of Style approved of both size and sized in its online Q&A, adding a reminder to be consistent.

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines the adjective size as “sized,” thereby approving both. It gives the example “small-sized house.” The American Heritage College Dictionary does the same, giving “bite-size appetizers” and “medium-sized car” as illustrations.

The Associated Press Stylebook doesn’t address the size-sized question, but it gives the example “Olympic-size pool” under its entry on the Olympics.

Neither Garner’s Modern English Usage nor Microsoft Manual of Style includes a size entry.

Age vs. Aged. The adjective aged, meaning “having reached the age of,” wins in most cases. Examples:

Chicago: “Aged four years” is the equivalent of “four years of age.”

American Heritage: “Aged three” is “having reached the age of three.”

Merriam-Webster’s: “A man aged 40 years” is the example for “having attained a specified age.”

Gregg: “I interviewed a man aged 52” and “a person aged 58.”

Gregg also offers this example with age: “I don’t plan to retire at the age of 65,” asserting that “at age 65” would be incorrect. However, Gregg says that “elliptical references to age” such as “at age 65” are acceptable in technical writing such as human resources manuals.

Garner’s Modern English Usage doesn’t deal directly with the age-aged question, but Garner uses “age 71”–not “aged 71” or “at the age of 71”–as an example.

Applying my age-aged research, I will use these versions:

The play is appropriate for school-aged (not school-age) children.

Many middle-aged (not middle-age) people plan to work beyond the age of 65 (not age 65).

Actor Jeremy Irons, aged 67 (not age 67), continues to work on the stage and screen. (But I prefer “Actor Jeremy Irons, 67.”)

As for that shirt, it’s striped–not stripe! I’ve checked my dictionaries, and I can state that emphatically.

Do your style guides and style sheets agree with my research?



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By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English.

8 comments on “School-AgeD? Pint-SizeD? Is “D” Required?”

  • Amazing that a reputable dictionary would use the example “small-sized house.” “Small-sized” is redundant. How else could a house be small except in its size? Writers should always write “small house” instead of “small-sized house.”

    Do you agree, Lynn?

    Marcia Yudkin

  • Hi Marcia,

    Great point! I was so focused on gathering examples, that I didn’t think about the redundancy.

    One could say “small- and medium-sized houses.” But small-sized house? Redundant.


  • Hi Marcia,
    I don’t know if there is a difference between American and British English, but I think in the UK, we would be very unlikely to use your example of “aged” in the Jeremy Irons’ sentence.

    We would probably just say: Actor, Jeremy Irons, 67 etc and if we did want to be more wordy would use “age 67”.

    Really interesting blog and I will try to remember to use the correct form of age/aged when communicating with my North American colleagues!


  • Thanks for commenting, Liz.

    I can’t find any guidance in “New Oxford Style Manual.” “Garner’s Modern English Usage” points out that in British English “aged” is used (primarily in obituaries) where American English would be “at the age of.” Here’s one of its British examples:

    “Patrick Saul, who has died aged 85, was the founder of the National Sound Archive.”

    Do you have a reference book you typically follow?


  • What difference does it make? at the age of or aged.
    The point of language for a normal person is the mode of communication.
    I am not an american or an english man and I understand both versions.

  • Hi Tony,

    Some people care a lot about being consistent and correct in their writing. They may care because they have a large audience or because their communication is very important and must be correct. They are my target audience.


  • Hi Lynn,

    Appreciate the guidance. I, a writer, had looked up pint-size versus pint-sized and
    found the same; either option being permissible. One person insisted on the d
    “sized” – but I suspect it was just a lay opinion.

    I really wanted to know as I have a stellar piece and wanted to nail it, and wanted to verify IF indeed, I had the option of choice(?) here – or not.

    I won’t allude specifically in relation to what,
    but suffice it to say as an example: “pint-size clown.” Personally, I think by using the pint-size version, IT puts more emphasis on the clown itself, versus the “pint-sized clown” which points a bit more to the descriptive, aka the adjective of sized. ANY THOUGHTS?

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