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    #1

    compound modifiers of a noun

    What's the difference between the phrases a seven-day holiday and a seventh-day holiday? Can the first one be understood as "a holiday lasting seven days" and the second one as "a holiday taken place on the seventh day"?
    Can the modifier seven-day in the phrase a seven-day holiday be substituted with a genitive modifier seven days' ( a seven days' holiday)?

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    #2

    Re: compound modifiers of a noun

    Quote Originally Posted by sergeyrais View Post
    What's the difference between the phrases a seven-day holiday and a seventh-day holiday? Can the first one be understood as "a holiday lasting seven days" and the second one as "a holiday taking place on the seventh day"?.Yes.

    Can the modifier seven-day in the phrase a seven-day holiday be substituted with a genitive modifier seven days' ( a seven days' holiday)? Only if you want to sound like a non-native speaker.
    Rover

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    #3

    Re: compound modifiers of a noun

    Thank you for your answers and correction, Rover.
    It seems to me that not sounding like a non-native speaker is too much of a challenge for me. But on the other hand even native speakers often avoid following some grammar rules. There might have been some ambiguity in the modality of the verb can in my question. So I would like to specify the latter and ask whether the substitution of
    the modifier
    seven-day in the phrase a seven-day holiday with a genitive modifier seven days' is grammatically correct, but not whether I will sound like a non-native speaker when saying this phrase.

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    #4

    Re: compound modifiers of a noun

    You can say I took seven days' holiday, but not I took a seven days' holiday

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    #5

    Re: compound modifiers of a noun

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    You can say I took seven days' holiday, but not I took a seven days' holiday
    Why can't I justify the indefinite article by referring it to the head word (holiday) which is modified by a descriptive attribute (seven days')?
    e.g.
    I didn't take a seven days' holiday, but I took a ten days' holiday.

    Or is there anything wrong with the indefinite article in the basic expression "to take a holiday"?

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: compound modifiers of a noun

    Quote Originally Posted by sergeyrais View Post
    Why can't I justify the indefinite article by referring it to the head word (holiday) which is modified by a descriptive attribute (seven days')?
    e.g.
    I didn't take a seven days' holiday, but I took a ten days' holiday. Because it's not correct English, as you have been told several times.

    Or is there anything wrong with the indefinite article in the basic expression "to take a holiday"? No.
    Bhai.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: compound modifiers of a noun

    I took a ten-day holiday.
    I took ten days' holiday.

    If you don't believe us when we tell you that the above two sentences are the correct ways of expressing it in English, and that your suggested variations are incorrect, I don't see what else we can do for you.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #8

    Re: compound modifiers of a noun

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I took a ten-day holiday.
    I took ten days' holiday.

    If you don't believe us when we tell you that the above two sentences are the correct ways of expressing it in English, and that your suggested variations are incorrect, I don't see what else we can do for you.
    I guess the Grammar is not the matter of believing, but of understanding. For what profit would I have if I did believe you that the above two sentences are the correct ways of expressing it in English, and that my suggested variations are incorrect, without understanding the absence of an indefinite article before a word modified by a descriptive attribute where according to the rules it should be?

    If you don't mind, I will put the question in the following way.

    An indefinite article in its classifying function can't be used before the phrase "ten days' holiday" because:

    1) "ten days'" is not a descriptive attribute;
    2) "ten days' holiday" is a set expression;
    3) we cosider it to be incorrect;
    4) all of the above;
    5) there is some other reason.

    When choosing the right variant, please remember that I will be using your explanation not only for myself but also for my pupils who are preparing for the examination test.
    Last edited by sergeyrais; 17-Dec-2012 at 19:24. Reason: inserting a phrase "ten days' holiday"

  3. Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: compound modifiers of a noun

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Quote Originally Posted by sergeyrais View Post
    I guess the Grammar is not the matter of believing, but of understanding. For what profit would I have if I did believe you that the above two sentences are the correct ways of expressing it in English, and that my suggested variations are incorrect, without understanding the absence of an indefinite article before a word modified by a descriptive attribute where according to the rules it should be?
    We also use -'s (or -s' with plural words) with periods of time:
    - I've got a week's holiday starting on Monday.
    - Julia has got three weeks' holiday.
    - I live near the station - it's only about ten minutes' walk.

    (English Grammar in Use - Raymond Murphy)

    It seems to me that "a" is not possible before three weeks' and ten minutes' because both nouns are plural.

    You wouldn't say 'I have a seven close friends' either, right?
    Last edited by Chicken Sandwich; 17-Dec-2012 at 20:07.

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    #10

    Re: compound modifiers of a noun

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken Sandwich View Post
    It seems to me that "a" is not possible before three weeks' and ten minutes' because both nouns are plural.
    The problem is that the indefinite article could be referred to the head noun of the phrase (holiday) but, of course, not to the noun weeks.

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