Let's say I'm trying to say I've been doing this for two and a half years. Well that's just it.

But it sounds really weird when I say, two and a third years, even though I'm saying the same thing grammatically. Do I say two and one third years? Do I start hyphenating them?

It's so weird.

Original Post

Hi, GrammerNazi,

@GrammerNazi posted:

Do I say two and one third years?

You should say "two years and four months." The point is that "half" can premodify "year" to mean "semester" (a half-year, half a year), while "third" cannot be used that way to mean "four months," unless you say "one-third of a year." The need to use "of a" prevents you from using "third" the same way as "half."

You can of course use "quarter" to mean "three months" (two and a quarter years, two years and a quarter), and in economic and other scientific reports you can use decimal points:

- 2.25 years = 2 years and 3 months, 2¼ years
- 2.5 years = two and a half years, 2½ years

Last edited by Gustavo, Co-Moderator

Weird. So there is no alternative for sure?

In any case thanks, now I know.

@GrammerNazi posted:

Weird. So there is no alternative for sure?

Just in case, David, do you agree with me that "two and a third years" is not possible? "Two and one-third years" sounds a little better. Or perhaps you can think of another alternative. Thank you!

Last edited by Gustavo, Co-Moderator