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  1. #1
    Senior Member Rachelinpa's Avatar
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    Default grammar question - can the weeks own the severance?

    "we will provide you with three weeks severance"

    or is it

    "we will provide you with three weeks' severance"

    Here is what I found:

    plurals – Be attentive to subject-verb
    agreement problems that can arise when
    plurals are used as subjects. To form the
    possessive case of plural nouns ending in –s or
    –es, add only an apostrophe.
    • Two weeks’ severance pay was
    available to some workers.


    Apostrophes
    There are three uses of apostrophes:
    1. Forming the possessive case
    2. Indicating omissions in contractions
    3. Forming certain plurals

    Forming Possessive Case:
    One way to tell if you need to make a possessive is to turn the phrase around and make it an “of the” phrase. For example:
    the boy’s hat = the hat of the boy
    the clock’s hands = the hands of the clock
    (1) Singular Nouns and Indefinite Pronouns: add ‘s.

    Examples:
    This land is considered everyone’s property.
    “The Monk’s Tale” is one of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.
    (2) Singular Nouns Ending in –s: add ‘ or ‘s.

    In this case, it is also acceptable to add only an apostrophe to the end. The decision should be made on the pronunciation.
    Examples:
    James’ idea of fun is a day spent outdoors.
    Maris’s mother has a birthday coming up.
    (3) Plural Nouns Ending in –s: add ‘.
    Examples:
    Laid-off employees received two weeks’ severance pay.
    The three girls’ father bought them a puppy.

  2. #2
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    I have very little intellectual understanding of the English language. I avoid confusing myself with these types of questions by doing this:

    "we will provide you with three weeks severance"
    V

    "we will provide you with three weeks of severance pay"

  3. #3
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    Default

    From my understanding, two weeks' severance pay is just a shortened version of two weeks' worth of severance pay, making it a possessive. I could be wrong, though.
    -end of thread-

  4. #4
    mrs disregard's Avatar
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    ^ Precisely my thoughts.

  5. #5
    morose bourgeoisie
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    Default

    There is no possession. but you're right in that it's a shortened version of 'three weeks of severance'.

  6. #6
    Starcrossed Seafarer Aquarelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    From my understanding, two weeks' severance pay is just a shortened version of two weeks' worth of severance pay, making it a possessive. I could be wrong, though.
    Yes, I believe this is correct.
    Masquerading as a normal person day after day is exhausting.

    My blog:
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  7. #7
    Emerging Tallulah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    From my understanding, two weeks' severance pay is just a shortened version of two weeks' worth of severance pay, making it a possessive. I could be wrong, though.
    This. And I'm a damn English teacher.
    Something Witty

  8. #8
    mrs disregard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nebbykoo View Post
    There is no possession. but you're right in that it's a shortened version of 'three weeks of severance'.
    "There is no possession"? How do you figure that?

  9. #9
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    I could see how it might be "three weeks of severance pay" if it meant getting paid over three weeks or something, rather than a lump sum. So three weeks of getting paid, for severance. I think this doesn't usually happen though, and the other way still sounds better to me.
    -end of thread-

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