a 2013's computer

El10

Senior Member
Spanish-Colombia
Is "a 2013's computer" correct? I have read that the apostrophe can be used with expressions of time; for example, "Today's computers." Can I also say "a computer from 2013" or "a 2013 computer" ?
 
  • Language Hound

    Senior Member
    American English
    a 2013's computer:cross:
    Today's computers.:tick:

    Please provide some context and a complete sentence to show us how you would hope to use
    "a computer from 2013" and "a 2013 computer."
     

    El10

    Senior Member
    Spanish-Colombia
    For example: He owns a) a 2013's computer. / b) a 2013 computer. /c) a computer from 2013.
    Why is a) incorrect? Can't we use the apostrophe to refer to the time when something was manufactured?
     

    JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    No, not wh
    For example: He owns a) a 2013's computer. / b) a 2013 computer. /c) a computer from 2013.
    Why is a) incorrect? Can't we use the apostrophe to refer to the time when something was manufactured?
    No, not when you're talking about a specific year. It works with decades, though, e.g. "A 1920s car" or "an early 2000s computer" (no apostrophe is necessary). When used in reference to years, this is structure is general rather than specific, and 2013 is simply too specific for this rather odd little construction. :)
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    There are two different things here, El10.

    (1) In "a 1920s car", "1920s" is plural, so there's no apostrophe. The plural noun "1920s" plays the role of an adjective in this case.

    (2) In "Today's computers", "Today's" is possessive, so there's an apostrophe. They are, in a broad sense, computers 'belonging to' today.

    It's possible to use a given year with an apostrophe, as in (2): for example, "2013's sports highlights". But "the sports highlights of 2013" is more idiomatic.

    However we don't say "a today's computer" (just as we don't say "a John's book"). Similarly, we wouldn't say "a 2013's computer".

    With the indefinite article, you can use the adjectival construction in (1): "a 2013 computer", which is your (a) ...
    ... or a prepositional phrase such as "a computer from 2013", which is your (b).

    Ws
     

    JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    Yes, exactly. I think of 1920s in "a 1920s car" as descriptive - and plural, but mostly descriptive. In contrast, 2013 in "a 2013 computer" is also descriptive, but it's just one year, so the s isn't needed.
     

    El10

    Senior Member
    Spanish-Colombia
    There are two different things here, El10.

    (1) In "a 1920s car", "1920s" is plural, so there's no apostrophe. The plural noun "1920s" plays the role of an adjective in this case.

    (2) In "Today's computers", "Today's" is possessive, so there's an apostrophe. They are, in a broad sense, computers 'belonging to' today.

    It's possible to use a given year with an apostrophe, as in (2): for example, "2013's sports highlights". But "the sports highlights of 2013" is more idiomatic.

    However we don't say "a today's computer" (just as we don't say "a John's book"). Similarly, we wouldn't say "a 2013's computer".

    With the indefinite article, you can use the adjectival construction in (1): "a 2013 computer", which is your (a) ...
    ... or a prepositional phrase such as "a computer from 2013", which is your (b).

    Ws
    Yes, exactly. I think of 1920s in "a 1920s car" as descriptive - and plural, but mostly descriptive. In contrast, 2013 in "a 2013 computer" is also descriptive, but it's just one year, so the s isn't needed.
    Thank you both. I thought that the apostrophe in "Today's computers" was not an indicator of the possessive case but an indicator of the time when something exists or was made, and that's why I thought I could say, "a 2013's computer." I see it was a mistake, and it is good to know that options b) and c) work in these cases. But what if I take out the "a" and say, " 2013's computers are still very functional today."? Would that work? I ask because if "2013's sports highlights" is acceptable, though not very idiomatic, I guess I can say "2013's computers" as well.
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    As Kate says, that would work, but I'd be cautious about the context.

    "2013's computers" might be used in talking about the whole range of computers (or perhaps those of a particular manufacturer) introduced in 2013:
    - "2013's computers were a great improvement over the 2012 range".
    (The same goes for my '2013's sports highlights' example: it would usually refer to all the sports highlights of 2013.)

    But we wouldn't say "My company uses 2013's computers, but yours uses 2015's".

    Ws
     

    El10

    Senior Member
    Spanish-Colombia
    As Kate says, that would work, but I'd be cautious about the context.

    "2013's computers" might be used in talking about the whole range of computers (or perhaps those of a particular manufacturer) introduced in 2013:
    - "2013's computers were a great improvement over the 2012 range".
    (The same goes for my '2013's sports highlights' example: it would usually refer to all the sports highlights of 2013.)

    But we wouldn't say "My company uses 2013's computers, but yours uses 2015's".

    Ws
    Thank you for your clarification. It's much clearer now.
     
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