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"Five years' experience" or...?

(8 Posts)
doggiesayswoof Tue 10-Nov-09 12:23:19

Five years experience?

Apostrophe or not?

I am never sure about this.

EightiesChick Tue 10-Nov-09 12:25:19

Yes, technically it should be five years' experience - as per Lynne Truss's discussion of the film Two Weeks Notice and how it should have been Two Weeks' Notice grin However, almost everyone is unsure and nervous about this particular aspect of apostrophe usage so if you've already written it without the apostrophe, I doubt anyone will say anything.

CheeeseOnToast Tue 10-Nov-09 12:25:31

apostrophe... can't remember the reasons but there just is grin

RnB Tue 10-Nov-09 12:26:16

Five years' experience is correct

RnB Tue 10-Nov-09 12:27:44

Whenever you’re wondering whether a phrase like this needs an apostrophe, try mentally substituting “one” for “two” (or whatever other number is in the phrase you’re wondering about). “Two years’ experience” and “two years experience” sound the same -- but “one year’s experience” and “one year experience” are easy to tell apart. And of course you’d say “one year’s experience.” You’d also say “one week’s notice” and “one dollar’s worth.” Just remember, when you go back to your plural, to put the apostrophe back after the “s,” where it belongs on a plural possessive.

RnB Tue 10-Nov-09 12:28:04

I copied that by the way. I;m not that sad

EightiesChick Tue 10-Nov-09 12:28:28

It's because it is possessive - it means '5 years of experience...' if you wrote it out in full. And the apostrophe goes after the s because 'years' is plural. It would be '1 year's experience' if that was the situation. HTH.

doggiesayswoof Tue 10-Nov-09 12:45:32

Thanks all.

Updating my CV and it would be nice to get it right.

RnB you shouldn't have owned up - I was terribly impressed smile

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