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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Criminal Sentence 558: Questionable Age

From a blog post:

"Seventeen years old Andra’s life is full."

This sentence is not a good way to start a query letter!

When you have multiple words that combine to describe a noun (called a compound adjective), you need to add hyphens to join them up together. So it would need to be "Seventeen-year-old Andra." But this sentence has too many words describing "life," so we need to rearrange it. One option is this:

"The life of seventeen-year-old Andra is full."

That's not so wonderful. How about this:

"Seventeen-year-old Andra has a full life."


JasonL said...

Would "At seventeen years old, Andra's life is full" work, or does that change the meaning of the sentence?

The Sentence Sleuth said...

Since "Andra's life" is not 17 years old, that doesn't make sense. You could also consider writing "Andra, 17, has a full life."