Re: Years in Toronto

Subject: Re: Years in Toronto
From: "Wayne J. Douglass" <wayned -at- VERITY -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 1997 11:54:30 -0800

At 01:57 PM 3/5/97 -0500, Diane Williams wrote regarding Maurice Rose's post:
>>>Other expressions considered descriptive are those that, if rewritten as
>>>phrases, would take the prepositions 'for' or 'by' rather than 'of' ...<
>>
>>Well, now I know why the apostrophe in "two years' experience" looks
>>so odd to me: I read the Globe every day on the way to work!
>
>But your reason above is why two years' experience needs the apostrophe!
>Because it means "of."

This is not how I read the Globe's style recommendation. If you return to
the full text you see that the Globe recommends *no* apostrophe for
descriptive terms that sound like possessives. That is, phrases like "two
weeks vacation" do not require an apostrophe because they can be rewritten
as "two weeks of vacation" and are descriptive (even though they sound
possessive).

The passage above *expands* the definition of descriptive terms to include
not only terms that can be rewritten as phrases that take the proposition
"of," but also phrases that take the prepositions "for" or "by." The Globe
offers examples like
"a hitchhikers guide," which can be rewritten as "a guide for hitchhikers."

Good for the Globe!


--Wayne Douglass

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