Do you know which is correct: I will finish in three weeks’ time or in three weeks time? In one day’s time or in one days time?
It is correct to say three weeks’ time and one day’s time.
In order to answer this question, you need to understand the main uses for an apostrophe:
- Contractions: To show where letters were omitted from words to combine two words into one word.
- Example: Was not = wasn’t (was not to wasn’t).
- Possession: To indicate that something belongs to someone or something
- Example: Robert’s car
After you understand the proper use of apostrophes, then you need to learn about inanimate possessives. The most important rule about inanimate possessives is that nouns referring to inanimate objects shouldn’t be written in the possessive. Instead, you should use “of.”
- the end of the line (NOT: the line’s end)
- the terms of the agreement (NOT: the agreement’s terms)
- The upper level of the building (NOT: the building’s upper level)
Over time this rule has altered because the possessive form has become more common when referring to time and measurement:
- a day’s time
- an hour’s lesson
- two years’ work (plural possessive)
- two weeks’ wages (plural possessive)
So, remember that possession belongs to people, places, and time.
- The start of the trip = the trip’s start
- In the time of 4 hours = in 4 hours’ time
- In the time of a year = in a year’s time
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