A three-day journey vs Three days' journey

Hello teachers,

What is the difference between
“[color=blue]A three-day journey” and “[color=blue]Three days’ journey” ?

Thanks in advance


One is correct and one isn’t. Do you know which is which?

Hi canadian45,

Thanks for your response.
I think “A three-day journey” is correct.

But why is “Three day’s journey” not correct?

Await your explanation


A three day journey is, as you say, correct. ‘Three day’ is descriptive and ‘three days’ ’ is possessive.


Couldn’t “three days’ journey” be acceptable as an estimate of distance?

“How far is it, Rodeon Romanovitch?”

“Oh, it’s about three days’ journey from here, Sofya.”

Hi teachers,

Actually, I want to know if there’s any difference between “a three-day journey” and “three day’s journey”



The possessive form is not appropriate here; the journey is not a possession of ‘three days’! You need an adjective, and the correct adjective is three-day. The adjective does not take an “s” or an apostrophe but it does need a hyphen, as it is a compound adjective.

Hi Jupiter

As Alan and prezbucky have already written, the correct possessive form of three days is three days’. The possessive apostrophe must be placed after the s in a plural noun such as days.

You will be able to find plenty of errors similar to three day’s if you search the internet because putting the apostrophe in the wrong place is not an unusual mistake for either native or non-native speakers of English.

The word three-day is an adjective.

Otherwise, I’d say that there is basically no difference in meaning between a three-day journey and three days’ journey, however I’d say that using the adjective (three-day) would be far more typical.



Could you comment use of apostrophe in “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” (1962) ?

I think, translation from many languages tempts to use the form in this case.

If in some culture the distance informally estimated by the number of pipes smoked (to be smoked), there would be a temptation to say in English three pipes’ distance or something like that. Or not?

Just to clarify a bit more:

If you say a three-day journey, the focus is on a journey
If you say three days’ journey, your focus would be on the the length of time a journey to a certain place would take (and this also refers indirectly to the distance to a place).


Hi everyone, esp Amy,

Sorry for my typo “three day’s journey”. I did want to mean “three days’ journey”
Thanks for your fantastic explanation. It made me clear at last.

Million thanks :smiley: