I've got a English tutor and we had a session on English writing.

But he gave me a correction on my writing which is still confusing to me.

The practice lasted about three weeks, after which every team would do voice over in front of the class.

He said "three weeks" should/could be hyphenated, i.e "three-weeks."

That was confusing to me as I thought week is hyphenated in cases like

a three-week holiday.

Did my tutor give me a wrong answer or was it just me not knowing the rules?

  • 1
    Don't give him any cookies. – Ricky Nov 1 '15 at 10:52

Your analysis is correct. 'three-weeks' in that context is simply wrong. It is possible that the tutor confused this with the adjectival use.

The practice lasted about three weeks. [correct]

The practice lasted about three-weeks. [incorrect]

As you correctly say, we expect a hyphen when forming an adjective as in, "a three-week holiday".

[Note: I edited this answer in deference to comments. I now see that my previous answer potentially raised more problems than it solved.]


I would hyphenate 'voice-over' or write it as 'voiceover'.

  • 3
    Shouldn't it be "We did a three-week practice"? Hyphenated compounds are normally in the singular when they precede the noun e.g. "A three-year-old boy", "A five-star hotel" – Mari-Lou A Nov 1 '15 at 11:12
  • @Mari-LouA Yes. Adjectives in English are not inflected for number. – Andrew Leach Nov 1 '15 at 11:14
  • @chaslyfromUK See this answer. Three-week is a one-word modifier, placed before a noun; because it's a one-word modifier, it's not inflected for number. – Andrew Leach Nov 1 '15 at 11:33
  • 2
    No, it's not different at all. Your "correct" a three-weeks practice is definitely wrong. – Andrew Leach Nov 1 '15 at 11:48
  • The OP himself prefers to write: a three-week holiday. It is the tutor who argues that three-weeks is correct in the predicative position. – Mari-Lou A Nov 1 '15 at 11:52

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