a 200 page(s) book

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Mr Bones

Senior Member
España - Español
Hello, friends. Which form is the correct one?

It's a 200 page book.

It's a 200 pages book.

I've always thought that you have to use the singular, but have found a lot of references using the plurar on the Internet. Is there a rule? What do you think?

Thank you, Bones.
 
  • Lariana

    Senior Member
    Italy - bilingual French/Italian
    Yes, there are different forms flitting about.

    A two-page book is the first usage, according to my sources (I did a little research recently, including dictionaries and native writers)

    But, let's take "two-foot high", which, according to my old Pocket Oxford Dictionary, 1945, is the first form although, in the States, they write "two-feet high".

    It's like "a two-day journey", but also "a two-day's journey", "a two-days journey" and "a two-days' (possessive) journey".

    I think the usage is changing...

    What do other people think?
     

    nichec

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)

    whatdoyouspeak?

    New Member
    United States, English
    "It's a 200-page book." is correct. "It's a 200 pages book" is incorrect.

    Use the hyphen because "200 page" becomes an adjective:

    how can you describe the book? "It's a 200-page book." or "The book is 200 pages."
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I agree with whatdoyouspeak, "200 page book" is more than "better", it's the only correct choice.

    It is not quite similar to "two days' journey" (not "two day's journey", by the way), which takes the possessive; "200 pages" cannot take the possessive, unless it, strangely, happens to be someone's name.
     

    nzfauna

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    In these kinds of examples, the confusion for foreign speakers of English lies in the failure to realise they are being used as adjectives. English does not pluralise adjectives (but the French do, for example). Adjectives of this type should be hyphenated.

    E.g

    A book that has 200 pages is a "200-page book". [Not a 200 pages book]

    A flower with five petals is a "five-petalled flower". [Not a five petals flower].

    A dog that chases cats is a "cat-chasing dog". [Not a cats chasing dog].


    I don't believe at all, that this usage is changing. The only time I have ever heard it spoken, or the question raised, is by foreign speakers of English.
     

    Lariana

    Senior Member
    Italy - bilingual French/Italian
    It is not quite similar to "two days' journey" (not "two day's journey", by the way), which takes the possessive; "200 pages" cannot take the possessive, unless it, strangely, happens to be someone's name.
    Absolutely.
    I did say that "a 200 page book" was the first, correct answer, and then I was just relating the different forms that are currently used in a similar, but not identical case, as an example of the evolving language (which evolves through mistakes...).

    And according to my old Pocket Oxford Dictionary only "a two days' journey is correct, but my native friends (UK) all affirm that they only use "a two-day journey", and a few (incorrectly, I do agree with you, Mole) insisted on "two day's"...
     
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