a several century-long tradition

Discussion in 'English Only' started by dulce_babel, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. dulce_babel Member

    Dublin
    Polish
    Hello,

    Which phrase is correct: 'a several century-long tradition' or 'a several centuries long tradition'?

    Thank you.
     
  2. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    'a several centuries long tradition' - several is followed by a plural noun. = a tradition that is several centuries long.
     
  3. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    Wrong. Several-century-long is an adjective and adjectives don't have a plural in English (compare: a five-foot-high wall). And the structure of a several centuries long tradition is very hard to define.

    To avoid the dilemma, you could say a tradition several centuries long, which I think is better. Seven-syllable triple-decker adjectives are too cumbersome.
     

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