the bridge was built in 1192 with more than 800 years history

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seanhu

Senior Member
Chinese
The bridge was built in 1192 with more than 800 years history.

Greeting! I would like to know whether this sentence is correct in grammar, if not, please show me the right version without changing the structure, thank you!

[[ Edited by panjandrum (moderator) to include the topic sentence in this post. ]]
 
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  • seanhu

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Hello,

    No, it is not correct, I'm afraid, because it implies that the bridge was more than 800 years old in 1192, the year it was built!
    What about this: "the bridge was built in 1192 with more than 800 years history thus far"?
     

    seanhu

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    What I am concerning about is should it be "the bridge was built in 1192 with a more than 800 years's history thus far"?

    Or both versions are O.K.?
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    What I am concerning about is should it be "the bridge was built in 1192 with a more than 800 years's history thus far"?
    No, that's definitely wrong. :(

    If you don't want to alter the structure of the sentence, then:
    "The bridge, with more than 800 years' history, was built in 1192." would work. :)
     

    seanhu

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    "The bridge, with more than 800 years' history, was built in 1192." would work. :)
    Thank you for your modification, DonnyB! But I still have three questions for you ^_^:

    1. You deleted the article "a", so does it mean "history" can not be modified as "a history"? But I remmember there are books named "a history of Britain" or "a history of biology", something like that. So I would like to know the reason.

    2. You put an single quote mark on years, so does it mean it's unacceptable to say 800 years history? But I do have seen such usage, for example: three years work. So such usages are not standard English?

    3. I noticed you changed the sequence and used commas to separate the preposition phrase "with more than 800 years' history", is that necessary to do so? I mean just from the view of grammar, could I use the with-led preposition phrase in the structure like the unchanged one?

    Maybe too many questions for you, but I do need to know these or I would not put this question here, thanks a lot!

    < Edited to repair quotation formatting. Cagey, moderator >
     
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    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    1. You can certainly say "a history", and you can in fact say "a history of more than 800 years". But the separation in "a more than 800 years' history" doesn't work: it just sounds awkward and clumsy. :(

    2. Grammatically, it's "a history of more than 800 years", so if you write "more than 800 years' history" you should put in an apostrophe to denote the possessive. What you shouldn't do is write "...800 years's history", where "years" ends in the plural 's'. :eek:

    3. Yes, you need to separate the clause from the rest of the sentence with commas. That particular sentence wouldn't be ambiguous if you didn't: it just makes it easier to read and understand. :)
     

    truepurple

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Years possessing the history? That seems silly, I personally would skip the ' at the end of years. << By the way >>, years is already plural.
     
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    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Years possessing the history? That seems silly, I personally would skip the ' at the end of years. BTW, years is already plural.
    It may seem silly to you, but it's correct. It's no different than "The post office is 15 minutes' walk from here."
     

    truepurple

    Senior Member
    English-US
    A more direct comparison would be "It takes 60' minutes to walk from there." The 800 years and history are the same concepts. 800 years is a quantity measure of how much history.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    A more direct comparison would be "It takes 60' minutes to walk from there." The 800 years and history are the same concepts. 800 years is a quantity measure of how much history.
    I don't see how that is in any way a more direct comparison.
    Regardless of your objections, the correct form, as evidenced in punctuation guides, is '... 800 years' history' or '... 15 minutes' walk'.

    a week's worth, two weeks' work
    http://www.sussex.ac.uk/informatics/punctuation/apostrophe/possessives

    For expressions of time and measurement, the possessive is shown with an apostrophe -s: "one dollar's worth," "two dollars' worth," "a hard day's night," "two years' experience," "an evening's entertainment," and "two weeks' notice" (the title of the Hollywood movie nothwithstanding).
    http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/possessives.htm

    etc​

    You could, of course, write '... with more than 800 years of history'.
     

    Shooting Stars

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    If you don't want to alter the structure of the sentence, then:
    "The bridge, with more than 800 years' history, was built in 1192." would work.
    1. The bridge was built in 1192 with more than 800 years' history.
    2. The bridge, with more than 800 years' history, was built in 1192.

    The only differences between the two sentences are the placement of the with-phrase and its preceding comma. Could you tell me why sentence 1 connotes the bridge was more than 800 years old in 1192, the year it was built while sentence 2 doesn’t carry this implication.


    Thank you.
     
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    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    1. The bridge was built in 1192 with more than 800 years' history.
    2. The bridge, with more than 800 years' history, was built in 1192.

    The only differences between the two sentences are the placement of the with-phrase and its preceding comma. Could you tell me why sentence 1 connotes the bridge was more than 800 years old in 1192, the year it was built while sentence 2 doesn’t carry this implication'
    The deciding factor here is the placement of the "with- clause", because it refers back to whatever it immediately follows.

    So as sound shift says (post #2) if you write the sentence as version (1) it sounds as if the bridge already had 800 years of previous history in 1192 when it was built. (the 'with...history' refers to 'in 1192')

    My revised version (2) on the other hand makes it clear that the bridge's history starts in 1192 when it was built. (the 'with...history' refers to 'the bridge')
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Years possessing the history? That seems silly
    As Panj says, the question of how the possessive contributes to understanding isn't the topic here, so I won't address that. But I will just comment on your earlier remark, which does have a bearing on seanhu's question in #6.

    Seanhu asked whether the sentence was grammatically correct, and then asked about the apostrophe in "800 years' history". Donny's reply referred to "the possessive" (not to "years possessing the history"). The difference is important. The possessive (or genitive) case is a grammatical form. It doesn't necessarily express literal possession (just as phrases with "of" don't necessarily indicate possession). The possessive case often represents other associations and relationships (as in John's father, or the train's departure). That's what it does here. It refers to the history associated with the passage of 800 years.

    Ws
     
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