• Yaniv Iczkovits

Mistake-free Mondays - Compound Adjectives

Is this sentence correct? “It was a three hours flight to Madrid.”

Well, actually it's not correct. Let’s talk about it…

This week I want to give you a tip that will save you from making a classic mistake in English. Let us know how many of you have made this mistake…

As most people know, in English we usually add the letter “s” to the end of nouns in order to make them plural. For example, one hour becomes two hours, and one page becomes ten pages, right? So, if you ask me about my flight, I would say the flight took 2 hours. And if you ask me about the document, I would say it is ten pages in length.

But something interesting happens when I put those words in a certain order - you drop the “s”.

Let’s take a closer look…

As we said, one way to talk about my flight is to say something like this:

“The flight was three hours long.”

But another way is: “It was a three-hour flight.” [Note: no “s”]

And similarly, I can say something like this:

“The document is ten pages long.”

But another way is: “I prepared a ten-page document.” [Note: no “s”]

This is what in English grammar we call a “compound adjective”. This is when we have 2 adjectives describing the same noun. Remember to add a hyphen (-) between the two adjectives.

Here are some more examples to get you started:

  • • A 2-year contract

  • • A nine-hour shift

  • • A 40,000-dollar car

  • • A 14-day vacation

  • • A five-minute conversation

  • • A 20-slide presentation

  • • An 8-week course

Note: If doesn’t matter if you write the number as a number, or if you write it as a word.


I hope today’s post has been helpful. Let us know…

And join us next week for more helpful tips of Mistake-free Mondays.

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