a 3-hour trip / travel / drive

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raymondaliasapollyon

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

I am wondering whether the following forms are all okay:

1. It was a 3-hour trip to work.
2. It was 3 hours' trip to work.
3. It was 3 hours trip to work.

I'm sure #1 is correct and #3 incorrect. What about 2?

I'd appreciate your help.
 
  • Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    I would advise against #2. "Trip" is a count noun; #2 might work better with a mass noun, such as "It was three hours' travel." (But even this sounds unusual to me.)
    Most style guides recommend spelling out numbers up to ten ("three", not "3").
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    2 and 3 are wrong - all singular, countable nouns must be qualified by a determiner. Trip is a singular, countable noun.
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    "It was three hours' drive to work":thumbsup: and "It was three hours' distance to work":confused:
    "Travel" and "drive" are things that you have to do for three hours. "Distance" is not something that you do.
     

    kuleshov

    Senior Member
    Spain Spanish
    The adverbial expressions with the apostrophe only work with nouns such as drive, walk or swim. You cannot use it with other nouns:
    My office is five minutes' walk from the bus station.:tick:
    My office is a five-minute walk from the bus station.:tick:
    We're going on a ten-day journey.:tick:
     

    raymondaliasapollyon

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    What about "It was three hours' drive to work" and "It was three hours' distance to work"?
    Is the noun drive a mass noun?

    What about "It was three hours' commute to work" and "It was a three-hour commute to work"?
    I suppose the latter is correct. What about the first? I've got a hunch that it patterns with trip (and is thus incorrect), but commute is indeed something we do.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Is the noun drive a mass noun?
    No. We go for "a drive".

    "It was a three hour commute to work." (no hyphen, no apostrophe)

    Note that in AE, you need to say whether you mean "one-way"/"each way" or "round trip". There is no standard. Saying it is a two hour "commute to work" or "drive to work" can mean either:
    - 2 hours each way: 4 hours driving per day
    - 2 hours round-trip: 2 hours driving each day
     

    kuleshov

    Senior Member
    Spain Spanish
    What about "It was three hours' commute to work" and "It was a three-hour commute to work"?
    I suppose the latter is correct. What about the first? I've got a hunch that it patterns with trip (and is thus incorrect), but commute is indeed something we do.
    The noun commute works perfectly with the adverbial use. Actually you can use the apostrophe or not, and in both cases it is grammatically correct:
    It was 3 hours' commute to work.:tick:
    It was 3 hours commute to work.:tick:

    We only use the adverbial form with nouns related to verbs of movement. Drive, walk, swim and commute are nouns which come from verbs.
     
    Last edited:

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    ... Actually you can use the apostrophe or not, and in both cases it is grammatically correct:
    It was 3 hours' commute to work.:tick:
    It was 3 hours commute to work.:tick: ...
    Dojibear said:
    "It was a three hour commute to work." (no hyphen, no apostrophe).
    Sorry, Dojibear and Kuleshov, but I don't know where you got these false ideas. You have two ways of turning "three hours" into an adjective:
    • You make it a genitive plural by adding an apostrophe after the "s": It was three hours' commute to work. :tick:
    • You make it a compound adjective by adding a hyphen. Like all other adjectives, this has no plural: It was a three-hour commute to work. :tick:
    What you can't do is just string the plural noun phrase "three hours" together with another noun and hope that it will succeed: It was 3 hours commute to work.:cross: It was a three hour commute to work.:cross:
     

    kuleshov

    Senior Member
    Spain Spanish
    Yes, I agree: I always use the apostrophe in these expressions. It just so happens that a lot of native speakers don't use the apostrophe, and it's just a question of time for the version without the apostrophe to be accepted.
    Languages are constantly evolving and changing...

    If you want to check, type in minutes walk on The National British Corpus, and have a look at the hits.
     

    raymondaliasapollyon

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Yes, I agree: I always use the apostrophe in these expressions. It just so happens that a lot of native speakers don't use the apostrophe, and it's just a question of time for the version without the apostrophe to be accepted.
    Languages are constantly evolving and changing...

    If you want to check, type in minutes walk on The National British Corpus, and have a look at the hits.
    If you wrote like that on the SAT or GMAT, you would lose points.
    While native speakers may be trusted for matters of spoken English, they are not always reliable as far as conventions of writing are concerned. That's why there are on the market so many style guides, most of which are intended for native-speaking college students.
     
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