Don’t get caught out by the apostrophe in time expressions

I’m often asked whether expressions such as one one weeks holiday and five years’ time need an apostrophe.

The answer is yes.

These are called time expressions – or, if you want to sound impressive, temporal expressions.

So, where does that pesky apostrophe go?

It’s simple. If the period of time is singular, the apostrophe goes before the s:

  • One week’s notice
  • One month’s holiday
  • One year’s experience

If the period of time is plural, the apostrophe goes after the s:

  • Two weeks’ notice
  • Two months’ holiday
  • Two years’ experience

Oh yuk – must I really?

Not everyone likes that tricksy little apostrophe, but now you know it’s earned its place you can’t leave it out for fear of looking silly, right?

Don’t worry – if writing “I have 20 years’ experience” on your website or LinkedIn profile makes you pull a face, just replace the apostrophe with OF.

“I have 20 years of experience.”

Easy as that.

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