- For Teachers
1. It takes ten minutes to get there.
2. It's a ten minute's walk from here.
Can we combine the two structures above and say:
It takes a ten minute's walk (to get there)?
If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up.)
Your attempt to combine does not really work. One would say "It's a ten minute walk."
You can get over the ambiguity of the first sentence by saying "It takes ten minutes to walk there".
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Nobody is trying to be an Elizabethan poet. What it takes is ten minutes. It doesn't take a ten-minute walk. If anyone takes a ten-minute walk they go somewhere on foot for ten minutes. The doer of this can't be an it.
I wasn't suggesting we should try to be Elizabethan poets either; but Shakespeare had such an influence on our language that many of his turns of phrase survive today, and since he mentions both Canada and America by name, I'm quite sure AmE has its roots centred in his era.
Whoops. I was saying 2 is correct, and intended to quote a member who said 2 is wrong. The suggested amalgam of 1. and 2. is certainly wrong.
Continuing my thoughts on 2, we can find other grammarians saying it's not wrong:
It's about a 3-minutes' walk. - Topic
Aspects of Modern English Usage - Paul Lambotte - Google Books
Sorry if I caused any confusion.
When CS said 2 was wrong, I think (and assumed when I read it) he was talking about the position of the apostrophe (which is precisely as Lambotte says it is).
Don't forget that a ten-minute walk is a useless way of describing a distance, unless you know how fast your reader can walk.