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Thread: Apostrophe help

  1. #1
    Emmylu is offline Newbie
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    Default Apostrophe help

    Please can you kindly confirm that the apostrophes in the following phrases are correct:

    A few minutes' walk from.......
    Two hours' drive from........

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Apostrophe help

    You don't need apostrophes in these phrases.

  3. #3
    Emmylu is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Apostrophe help

    Thank you very much.

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    Searching for language is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Apostrophe help

    I am not an english teacher, but the improper use of an apostrophe is one of my main pet peeves when reading books or magazines.

    The use of an apostrophe is definitely correct in both instances.

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    Default Re: Apostrophe help

    Searching for language

    ...and in the positions as written i.e. ...minutes' walk from.......
    ...hours' drive from........

  6. #6
    bhaisahab's Avatar
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    Default Re: Apostrophe help

    You can use the apostrophes if you want to be pedantic but in my opinion, and I know that I am not alone in this, the possessive apostrophe is overused, often for doubtful reasons. I don't think that a minute can be said to possess a walk or that an hour can be said to possess a drive.

  7. #7
    jlinger is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Apostrophe help

    It's not pedantic to be right. Apostrophes are important, required, and correctly used in those instances.

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    Default Re: Apostrophe help

    To determine whether you need to use an apostrophe (to make a possessive), turn the phrase around and make it an "of the..." phrase. For example:

    the boy's hat = the hat of the boy
    three days' journey = journey of three days

    I may be long-winded at times, and a bit obsessive in my desire to preserve all the hard work put in by previous speakers in evolving my language that now permits such a degree of clarity of expression, and nuance of meaning; but heaven forbid I should ever regard myself as a pedant* being pedantic about an apostrophe.

    * a person who is excessively concerned with minor details and rules.

    Other languages have their squiggly marks over and under letters that they regard as important, not 'minor details'. I have a similar pride! (icon for Rule Britannia or something suitable, when an Englishman expresses strong emotion.)

    (With a big thank you to the French. Did you impose, as it were, 'your vocabulary' on us after the Norman invasion, or can we be accused of stealing, in continuing to adopt your words that bridge gaps where nuances were previously lacking...
    ...but we do string words together better than you!!)
    Last edited by David L.; 28-Nov-2008 at 20:59.

  9. #9
    Searching for language is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Apostrophe help

    Do I need to post each time that I am not an English teacher?

    I just wanted to say that no one strings words together better than the Germans. They/we can make one word out of five.

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    Default Re: Apostrophe help

    Just as many syllables though!

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