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Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. 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?

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Comments

I would do neither; how about:

"four-day journey"

Daniel5 Aug-19-2008

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

Daniel5 Aug-19-2008

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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 Aug-19-2008

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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_possessive.html

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

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

porsche Aug-23-2008

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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.

Neil1 Aug-28-2008

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Yup:

four days' journey

Notice the position of the apostrophe.

bubbha Sep-02-2008

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