Re: Years(') of experience

Subject: Re: Years(') of experience
From: cjs10 -at- CORNELL -dot- EDU
Date: Fri, 28 Feb 1997 16:30:57 -0500

Geoff --

> One thing to remember is that some phrases, such as "2
> years [or years'] experience", are idiomatic, and thus
> immune to analysis logic and grammar.

There are such phrases (for ex: "it runs in the family") but this is not
one of them.

Grammatically, it
> would probably be "2 years' experience" because, as others
> have noted, it is "the experience of [possessed by] two
> years".

"...it would probably be"? Why not "it is"? I'm baffled.

> It's still an awkard phrase.

That's entirely a matter of opinion, and not to be delivered, it seems to
me, as though it were a truth. Many would consider the phrase elegant --
it's succinct, and has good rhythm and balance.

>
> If all else fails, and the wording still looks odd to you,
> it's probably best to reword so that it doesn't look odd.
> Something like "I have 2 years of experience..." or "I have
> worked for 2 years on..." would work on a resume. To tie
> this in with the resume thread, you should _always_ reword
> something if you're aware of issues such as these; you
> might be grammatically correct, but if the interviewer
> doesn't think so, it's a pyrrhic victory. Moreover,
> choosing a grammatically debatable phrase over a simpler
> and clearer wording doesn't really showcase your writing
> talents.

Yes, but who does it look odd to? Only to those who don't know their
grammar. We writers have a responsibility to learn our grammar, and I'd be
damned if I'd work for someone who criticized
my grammar out of ignorance. If an employer is fussy enough to challenge
one of us on the use of apostrophes, they'd better know their apostrophes
beforehand, and if they don't then we'll be doing them a favor by
educating them. English is full of all sorts of interesting moments;
let's not try to avoid them, let's learn how to put them to good use.

Joanna





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