Years of experience

Subject: Years of experience
From: geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 1997 10:24:07 -0600

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

To which John Ahlstrom responded <<How in the name of all
the angels (idiomatic emphatic) can a year possess
anything?>>

I replied to John off-list to note that years can possess
duration, quality (e.g., a good year), etc., but that he
was right that I was being a bit imprecise in attributing
ownership to a year. John pointed out that what I was
really getting at is the "genetive case", which relates
both to possession and the _source_ of the comment. The
genetive specifically describes things such as "years of
experience" (the "of" is the clue); genetives seem to be
something of an old usage, but represent an interesting
historical-grammatical note on this discussion.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Disclaimer: Speaking for myself, not FERIC.

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