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Is it possible to have a plural of "A good night's sleep"?

Would "Some good nights' sleep" be correct?


I'm thinking specifically in the sentence: "I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep"

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I think most contexts where you'd refer to "A good night's sleep" don't really admit of a plural in the first place, since the night in question is usually being contrasted (implicitly or explicitly) with preceding or following sleep-deprived nights. I personally would probably try to avoid the plural by restructuring my utterance. But I'm the kind of wuss who avoids pluralising tablespoonful, for example, simply because both alternatives seem a bit odd to me. – FumbleFingers Apr 4 '11 at 14:19


Some good nights' sleep

is grammatically correct.

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It would lose its idiomatic nature. The trope "a good [noun]" is used in many other expressions, and this particular version depends on that, not on the object "night's sleep".

Consider these parallel constructions:

I must have had a good two gallons of beer that night.

It was a good three weeks before we ever saw a dime of the money.

We were a good mile and a half from home when the care gave out.

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Wow, so the "good" in "a good night's sleep" refers to the quantity rather than the quality of the sleep? I'd never thought of that. – Acorn Apr 4 '11 at 13:52
In the sense that the quantity of sleep is actually a quality in this case. What "a good [something]" means is more like "ample" or "at least" — it expresses the idea that something is probably more than the stated amount, but we're rounding down. – Robusto Apr 4 '11 at 13:59
I don't think it is an example of that construction. Partly because that construction generally requires and explicit number, and partly because it does not imply "more than a night's sleep", which is what the idiom you are referring to means. And as Pablo says, I find "several good nights' sleep" completely idiomatic – Colin Fine Apr 4 '11 at 14:01
I'm sure the understanding of the phrase varies though. I think to many people, "a good night's sleep" and "a great night's sleep" would be interchangeable, with the latter being an exceptionally good night's sleep. – Acorn Apr 4 '11 at 14:03
@Colin: If your comment was an answer I'd upvote it. – MrHen Apr 4 '11 at 16:04

I'd avoid some, since it would usually be heard as "some (good night's sleep)," i.e. some quality sleeping time in one night. To avoid tying myself in knots like that, I'd usually rephrase:

"I slept well for several nights."

or even

"I had a good night's sleep for several nights."

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