Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files within 24 hours. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More

 

rogue apostrophe

Would you write ‘four day’s journey’ or ‘four days journey’?

I am having a tussle with a sub. I know it’s ‘Long Day’s Journey into Night’ but surely the journey doesn’t belong to the four days, so it should be ‘four days journey’ - and presumably ‘a four-day journey’ would be even better?

What do you think?

Submit Your Comment

Or

Comments

Sort by  OldestLatestRating

I would do neither; how about:

"four-day journey"

daniel August 19, 2008, 3:15am

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

Oops, missed the second half of your post. Sorry; not enough coffee this morning.

Daniel August 19, 2008, 3:16am

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

Actually, instead of "four day's journey" or "four days journey", I would write "four days' journey", the plural possessive. "Four days' journey" means a "journey of four days". The possessive phrase is turned around to eliminate the "of" (yes, journey does "belong" to days) and days is plural. Of course, you can use "four-day journey" as well. It's not better per se, just different.

porsche August 19, 2008, 4:35am

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

Perhaps a better answer would be to say it's the genitive of measure rather than the possesive. See:

http://www.alt-usage-english.org/genitive_and_p...

or another posting from this site about "two weeks' notice":

http://www.painintheenglish.com/post.php?id=26

porsche August 23, 2008, 4:23am

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

Definitely 'four days' journey'. if it was singular, it would be 'one day's journey'.

I guess the use of a hyphen would depend on the house style.

Neil August 28, 2008, 5:06am

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

Yup:

four days' journey

Notice the position of the apostrophe.

Chris September 2, 2008, 6:39am

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

Yes     No