Poll: Which is correct?

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    • Join Date: Feb 2007
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    #11

    Arrow Re: Apostrophes

    years --'s' here is plural S not possessive s so the first sentence is true


    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 45
    #12

    Re: Apostrophes

    As ı could remember ı ve come across a sentence like the one which is apostrophed.
    thennn
    you native speakers! tell us the exact onee pleaseee


    • Join Date: May 2007
    • Posts: 2
    #13

    Re: Apostrophes

    To Panjandrum:

    Apostrophes are used for two purposes: to show possession and in contractions.

    POSESSION
    In the case of the expression "a winter's day" the day belongs to winter. However, in this case, the years don't belong to the jail. Do you understand?

    CONTRACTIONS
    I cannot swim. OR I can't swim.
    They both mean the exact same thing, it's just an abbreviation.
    But this case doesn't use contractions.

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    #14

    Re: Apostrophes

    I would write: The crime can be punished by up to ten years in jail.

    None of the other choices (with or without apostrophes) sound correct to my AE ear.


    • Join Date: Apr 2007
    • Posts: 6
    #15

    Re: Apostrophes

    According to Advanced Grammar in Use by Martin Hewings, Unit 53, both of ten years' jail and ten-year jail are correct..

  1. bianca's Avatar
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    #16

    Re: Apostrophes

    There's a slight difference in meaning between ten years' jail and ten-year jail, though.

    Ex.:

    Ten years' jail is a real waste of human life. (or: ten years in jail is...)
    He received a ten-year jail sentence.

    bianca
    Last edited by bianca; 30-May-2007 at 10:10.


    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 8
    #17

    Re: Apostrophes

    A simple way of explaining this is to talk about "one year's jail". If it's one year in jail, why is there an "s" on the end of year? It's not there to signify that it's plural, so it must be there to signify possession. In which case it does have an apostrophe. So, "five years' jail" is correct.

  2. philadelphia's Avatar
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    #18

    Re: Apostrophes

    I follow daizee. The second one is right. Look at his explanation.

    The crime can be punished by up to ten years' jail.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
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    #19

    Re: Apostrophes

    What about this one? Does it sound correct?:

    The crime can be punished by up to ten years of jail.
    Thanks

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    #20

    Re: Apostrophes

    I think the expression "... ten years' time" suggests a more correct meaning. It's the time that punishes, not the ten years. The ten years are simply a qualifying length of that time.

    Proof? Try changing it from 10 years to 1 year.

    Aha! Can't do it without an apostrophe, can you!

    (and that would be ... a year's time, not a years' time, eh!)

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