A few seconds pause

< Previous | Next >

temple09

Senior Member
English - British
Hi,

I was wondering how best to punctuate the sentence - "after a few seconds pause I decided to ..."

Should it be seconds' second's or seconds?
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hello temple

    For me the answer is clear:

    After a pause of a few seconds
    >
    After a few seconds' pause.
     

    temple09

    Senior Member
    English - British
    When you put it that way, then it is obvious. However, couldn't one equally say -
    "after a few seconds of pause" - After a few seconds pause
     

    temple09

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Loob did say it that way, you didn't read the final line of her post ;)

    She said "After a few seconds' pause."
    No, there is a difference in the two sentences -
    A few seconds of pause - the genative relates to pause (of pause)
    A pause of a few seconds - the genative relates to seconds (of a few seconds)
     

    temple09

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I've heard "a few seconds of silence" but never anything like "a few seconds of pause".
    No, I haven't either, but since one can have a few seconds (of) silence (where the genative focuses on "silence") then I wondered whether "a few seconds(') pause" comes from this route.
    Hence the question. ;)
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hi again, temple

    You could always argue by analogy with the singular version, where we definitely do have a genitive: a second's pause :).
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top