Postby Dev on Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:42 pm


A foreigner asked me which way was correct and I gave her an answer. But thinking it over, I started wondering if I was correct. Is it, "In twenty year's time...", or, "In twenty years' time..."?

Thank you!

Re: Year's

Postby prof on Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:35 pm

Actually, the best way to say this is 'In twenty years.'

If you must use 'time' then this becomes the main noun, and 'twenty years' becomes the adjectival phrase describing time. Because this is not a possessive, you need no apostrophe.

You would say 'In twenty years time.'

Consider -
'This will be a splendid tree in time.'
'This will be a splendid tree in twenty years.'
'This will be a splendid tree in twenty years time.'

The final sentence adds nothing to the second sentence because 'twenty years' cannot be anything but time. It's like talking about a 'human man' or 'wet water'.
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