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  1. Member
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    • Join Date: Dec 2010
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    It's "four hours' walk" or "a four hours' walk" ?

    My question goes as stated in the title above. It really baffles me whether an indefinite article should be used in such cases. I will appreciate it very much if anyone could tell me which of the following are correct.

    a. It's four hours' walk.
    b. It's a four hours' walk.
    c. It's four-hour walk.
    d. It's a four-hour walk.

    What if the "walk" is replaced by "drive"? Does the rule, if there is one, still apply here? Any reply is much appreciated.

  2. probus's Avatar
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    Retired English Teacher
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    Re: It's "four hours' walk" or "a four hours' walk" ?

    Walk or drive makes no difference.

    You omitted the most natural one "It's a four hour walk."

    But there seems to be an epidemic of hyphen-insertion going on around here.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    • Join Date: Mar 2007
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    Re: It's "four hours' walk" or "a four hours' walk" ?

    A is acceptable.
    C is what I call correct.

    I don't usually disagree with Probus but I must here. All the style guides I know say the hyphen is required.
    A ten-foot ladder.
    A two-hour drive.
    A four-mile hike.
    And so on.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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