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He is in his fifties. Options
onsen
Posted: Sunday, February 4, 2018 6:10:21 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/14/2017
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Hello,

A: How old is he?
B: He is fifty-three years old.

The above conversation is an ordinary one.
But when B answers in such a way as the answer is: He is in his fifties., and from the beginning A doesn’t expect B to answer his exact age, i.e. fifty-three or fifty-four, etc., but expects B to answer in terms of such expressions as 'in one’s fifties, sixties, etc.', how does A ask B?

Thank you
Romany
Posted: Sunday, February 4, 2018 6:49:42 AM
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Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 13,974
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

I can't think of a reason, or a way, we could ask a question in which we tried to elicit that kind of answer.

If we asked and the other person didn't actually know how old their boss - or whoever it is - actually is, that's when we respond with either "Fifty-ish" or "In his fifties." Or if we asked specifically: So what age is he? Forties? Fifties?" even then the response would be simply "Fifties." "I'd say he was in his fifties." "He seems to be in his fifties.

p.s. We don't use 'of age' after giving someones age. "How old is he?" "He's 53."
thar
Posted: Sunday, February 4, 2018 7:05:04 AM

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Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 16,991
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I agree it is usually the person answering who makes the decision on how to give that information.


But if you were asking, you would just add an adverb to indicate you don't need an exact answer.

You can work out which to use by thinking of how they might answer.


A: He's about 55

So Q:

About how old is he?

About, around, roughly, approximately.

None of them ask for the decade. The central question is always 'how old?'.
Then you add a word to show you don't need an exact answer.

How they answer is still their choice:
Fifty-five.
In his mid-fifties
In his fifties
Etc.
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