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

Posted on , by Sarah Townsend in Grammar articles, Spelling tips no comments
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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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