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  1. #11
    Waawe is offline Member
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    Re: Three days' trip

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ID:	3859 look what I found on British Council webpage. Possibly, there are more approaches to the structure.

  2. #12
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: Three days' trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Waawe View Post
    Look what I found on a British Council webpage. Possibly, there are more approaches to the structure.
    No, there aren't. The linked page says "I have two weeks' holiday." Do you see an indefinite article?

    The other example should have a hyphen in the compound adjective two-week. Many native speakers, including teachers, don't know when to use hyphens.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. #13
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    Re: Three days' trip

    You're confusing two different forms, which have different meanings and uses. I'll try to show the difference.

    First look at this:

    a two-week holiday

    This is a singular countable noun phrase. Since it is singular and countable, it needs an article, like any other singular countable noun phrase. The hyphenated bit is a compound word (think of it as one word with two parts), which is modifying the following noun. The following noun is the head of the noun phrase. The head word holiday means something like an experience. It is likely that you travel to a place, spend two weeks there having a nice time and then go back home. The holiday is the whole experience and two weeks is how long it lasts.

    I had a two-week holiday in Brazil last summer.

    Now look at this:

    two weeks' holiday

    This phrase has different grammar and different meaning. The difference in meaning is that holiday does not mean an experience like before. Here it can be understood to mean time without working. That's very different, and has nothing necessarily to do with travel. For that reason, it is not conceived as a 'thing' like before, in which case it is not a singular countable noun, and therefore does not need an indefinite article. The two weeks' part is not hyphenated because it is not a compound.

    A good way to understand this form is to think that the apostrophe is saying 'of' or 'worth of'.

    I have two weeks' holiday to take next month.
    = I have two weeks (worth) of holiday to take next month.
    = Next month I have two weeks during which I don't have to work.

    Apart from with the word holiday, we also commonly use this form with the word time.

    I'll see you in two weeks' time.

    = I'll see you in two weeks (worth of time).

    Finally, regarding your example with trip, I hope it's clear now that a trip can only signify an experience (just like a holiday), and not time (like holiday), which means that it can only be used as a singular countable noun, and cannot be used in the latter form above.
    Last edited by jutfrank; 25-Jan-2021 at 13:28.

  4. #14
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    teechar is offline Moderator
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    Re: Three days' trip

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    I have two weeks' worth of holiday to take next month.
    Next month I have two weeks' worth of time during which I don't have to work.

    I'll see you in two weeks' worth of time.
    .

  5. #15
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    Re: Three days' trip

    Thanks for the corrections above, teechar. I decided to change the way I wrote those sentences, using brackets instead.

  6. #16
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    Re: Three days' trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Waawe View Post
    Aren't they saying to the contrary?
    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    Yes. At least, the first answer does. It's wrong.
    Are you quite sure that the other site is wrong, GoesStation?

    "the Genitive of Measure: a five minutes' talk; an hour or two's delay, or a delay of an hour or two; a three hours' delay, or a delay of three hours . . . . Instead of the inflected genitive we often employ the old uninflected genitive, especially when the measure is other than that of time: a three-hour delay; a ten-pound baby; a ten-foot pole; a five-mile walk . . . . We sometimes feel the inflected genitive here so strongly as an adjective that we treat it as an adjective, adding one in substantive function: 'The higher course is a two years' one' . . . . The old uninflected genitive is now usually felt as a compound adjective: 'A five-minute talk would be more appropriate than a thirty minute one.'"

    - Curme, George O. A Grammar of the English Language: Volume II: Syntax, pp. 83-84. Verbatim: Connecticut, 1933.
    I see no reason to believe that a three days' trip does not work when a five minutes' talk and a three hours' delay do work, according to this august grammarian. The fact is that the Grammar Exchange was right in asserting that a three days' trip and a three-day trip are both correct, even if Using English prefers the latter.
    Last edited by Phaedrus; 25-Jan-2021 at 21:31. Reason: typo

  7. #17
    Waawe is offline Member
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    Re: Three days' trip

    Thank you a zillion, Mr. Paedrus. At least I know what to look deeper into - the Genitive of Measure, it is! Well, frankly, in the meantime, I contacted a friend of mine from Toronto and he assured me both ways were fine with him. Seems it is a kind of regional issue, does it not?

  8. #18
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    Re: Three days' trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post
    The fact is that the Grammar Exchange was right in asserting that a three days' trip and a three-day trip are both correct, even if Using English prefers the latter.
    Like GoesStation, I don't agree that a three days' trip or a five minutes' talk or a three hours' delay are correct. By what criteria are you judging these to be so?

  9. #19
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    Re: Three days' trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Waawe View Post
    Seems it is a kind of regional issue, does it not?
    I'd be extremely surprised if anyone could tie regionality to any disagreements on this issue. It really comes down to different ideas of what correctness is.

  10. #20
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    Re: Three days' trip

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Like GoesStation, I don't agree that a three days' trip or a five minutes' talk or a three hours' delay are correct. By what criteria are you judging these to be so?
    That construction sounds fine to me, I (a native speaker) use it occasionally, and George Curme (one of the great grammarians of English) endorses it.

    If you won't accept Curme's endorsement, let me know and I shall find other grammarians who also endorse it, as well as fine examples in literature.

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