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'Tener Años' Is Common Idiom


In Spanish, the idiom for expressing a person's age is "tener ___ años." (Tener is the verb for "to have," and un año is a year.):
  • Tengo catorce años. I am 14 years old.
  • Mi madre tiene cincuenta años. My mother is 50 years old.
  • Yo tenía 31 años, casado y padre de un hijo. I was 31 years old, married and the father of a son.
  • Para el año 2025, uno de cada tres habitantes de la isla tendrá 65 años o más. In the year 2025, one out of three inhabitants of the island will be 65 older.
  • ¿Cuántos años tienes? How old are you?
To ask a person's age, you also could ask: ¿Qué edad tienes? (Edad is the word for "age.")

In contrast with English, in Spanish you normally cannot leave out the word años, unless the word has been used previously and the context makes clear what is meant. An example of where the word could be omitted would be a sentence such as this: Tengo veinte años, y mi hermano tiene quince. (I am 20 years old, and my brother is 15.)

The equivalent of the phrase "at ____ years of age" is "a la edad de ___ años" or "a los ___ años de edad. The words "de edad are frequently omitted, perhaps more often than not. Thus a statement such as "at the age of 30 she was rich and famous" could be translated any of these ways:

  • A los treinta años era rica y famosa. (This would be the most likely to be said.)
  • A la edad de treinta años era rica y famosa.
  • A los treinta años de edad era rica y famosa.
Here are some other words and phrases relating to age:
  • el anciano, la anciana (old person)
  • de corta edad (young)
  • de edad avanzada (elderly)
  • la edad de consentimiento (age of consent)
  • la edad del pavo (awkward age)
  • joven (young)
  • el/la joven (young person, young man/woman)
  • ser mayor de edad (to be of legal age)
  • de mediana edad (middle-aged)
  • ser menor or ser menor de edad (to be younger than legal age)
  • persona de edad (elderly person)
  • la tercera edad (old age)
  • viejo (old)
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  6. Referring to Ages of People in Spanish

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