Hi Cashewcashew said:I'm trying to understand why in "I walked for two hours", "hour" takes an "s", while in "I did a two hour walk", "hour" takes no "s".
Does one of you know the grammar or spelling rule behind this?
http://www.sti.nasa.gov/sp7084/ch1.html#top1.2.2. Possessive of Inanimate Objects
In the past, the possessive case ('s) was not acceptable for inanimate nouns. Instead the preposition of was preferred, that is, strength of the laminate rather than laminate's strength..
Exceptions to this rule were inanimate words representing a collection of animate beings (for example, company's profits, university's curriculum) and words expressing measure or time (for example, 2 hours' work). Current practice is to dispense with both the 's and the of (Skillin et al. 1974):
2 hours work
You have added an article to the phrase."2 hours work" is acceptable, isn't it? Is "a two hours walk" acceptable, then?
I participated (or maybe started) in one of these threads in the past and reached the conclusion that the safest way to write it is as above, singular with hyphens. But it would be good for ChuaTang and me to know which is more normal in speech, singular or plural. I would think it is the plural, but I don't really know.It may be possible to say it, but surely the current normal form is to write (with hyphens):
a two-hour walk
a three-day trip
a five-week break