The apostrophe has three functions in English. We use it to form possessive forms of nouns, form the plurals of letters, numbers, and symbols, and show the omission of letters in contractions. Which function or functions does the apostrophe serve in “week’s” and “weeks’”?
The apostrophe -s in “week’s” functions to create the possessive form of the singular noun “week,” whereas the apostrophe at the end of “weeks’” serves the same purpose for the plural of that noun. A plural noun that already ends in -s, “weeks,” only receives an apostrophe to form the possessive and not an additional “s.”
This article will take a closer look at the meaning of week’s and weeks’ and how the apostrophe functions in each word. We will also explore how the possessive form works in English and how to apply the rules to other words in the language as well.
Which Is Correct: Week’s or Weeks’?
Again, both “week’s” and “weeks’” are correct, and you can use either one, albeit in different contexts. The choice of which word to use will depend on whether you’re using the singular or plural possessive form of “week.”
The word “week’s” is the singular possessive form of the noun “week,” and, in this case, we use the apostrophe -s to indicate that something belongs to a particular week in question.
The word “weeks” is the plural form of the noun, and it refers to several consecutive weeks. As the plural form “weeks” already ends in -s, all we need to do to form the possessive of this plural noun is to add an apostrophe to the end of it. Adding another -s, in this case, is not necessary.
Therefore, the word “weeks’” is the correct possessive form of the plural “weeks,” indicating that something belongs to a set of consecutive weeks.
The Meaning of Week
Generally, Sunday to Saturday in the US and Monday to Sunday in the UK is known as a “week,” and we typically refer to this as a “calendar week” (source).
However, a “week” consists of any cycle of seven consecutive days or days that follow one another. So, you can refer to a “week” on any day between Sunday and Saturday, and in that way mean seven days from that day forward (source).
A Week From Today vs. In a Week’s Time
Whether you say “a week from today” or “in a week’s time,” it all has the same meaning. It all refers to a “week” within a seven-day cycle that can start on any day of the week, and it always means one week, or seven days, from that day forward.
You have to submit your article a week from today.
You have to submit your article in a week’s time.
Essentially, both these sentences mean the exact same thing. In this case, we have used the singular possessive form of “week” to indicate that the time period belongs to that specific week.
The Singular Possessive: Week’s
We use the singular possessive to indicate possession relating to a single noun. In English, to turn a singular noun into a possessive noun, we have to add an apostrophe -s.
This rule applies whether the singular noun already ends in -s or not. Therefore, by adding an apostrophe -s to “week,” it shows ownership of the word that follows (source).
He will take a week’s leave from Monday.
This week’s assignments have to be submitted by Friday.
I missed last week’s football results.
As you can see in the examples above, the word that follows the singular possessive noun is either directly related to that week in question, as in the case of “leave,” or belongs to a specific week, as is the case with “football results.”
The Plural Possessive: Weeks’
Remember, “week” is a singular noun and “weeks” is the plural form of the same word. Therefore, “weeks” will refer to a time period of at least 14 days or 2 weeks. However, it can also mean multiple weeks.
Additionally, “weeks” does not always have to refer to consecutive weeks but can also refer to a specific period of time or an indefinite period of time.
In some cases, a plural possessive noun will require the addition of an apostrophe -s. We mostly use this form for plural nouns that do not already end in -s. As the word “weeks” is plural and already ends in -s, it only requires an apostrophe at the end in order to make it possessive.
Two weeks’ notice is ample time for an employee to finish up their work before they leave.
My six weeks’ sick leave will terminate soon.
The eight weeks’ training at the gym has really paid off.
In each of the examples above, you will notice that the sentence mentions the number of weeks, indicating the plurality of the noun. Additionally, the same as with the singular possessive form, the use of the apostrophe indicates that the word that follows the noun belongs to or refers back to the noun.
For more on nouns of time that function In much the same way in the singular and plural possessive, read our article, “The Difference Between Years and Year’s.”
Is It This Weeks or This Week’s?
As “weeks” is the plural form of the noun, the phrase “this weeks” is incorrect as “this” is singular and not compatible with the plural noun. The singular pronoun “this” requires either the singular “week” or singular possessive “week’s.”
About the Word “This”
The word “this” can function as either an adjective, pronoun, adverb, or definite article, depending on where we use it in a sentence and the function that it performs. For the purposes of this article, we will be looking at its function as a demonstrative pronoun.
We use a demonstrative pronoun, of which there are four in total, to show that one or several nouns are either far away or nearby in either distance or time. “This,” when we couple it with the noun “week,” is a singular demonstrative pronoun. The other demonstrative pronouns are “that,” “these,” and “those” (source).
Again, since “this” is a singular demonstrative pronoun, it will always be “this week’s” and never “this weeks.”
Example sentences using this phrase:
I have pre-made all of this week’s meals.
We will receive all of this week’s lecture notes ahead of time.
John cannot attend this week’s training session.
This week’s schedule is already up on the board.
In the examples above, the demonstrative pronoun “this” is always linked to the singular noun “week” and refers to a week that is nearby or immediate in time.
On the other hand, if we were to use the plural form of the noun, we will have to use the plural demonstrative pronoun “these” as the noun and pronoun must always correlate with one another.
Is It Last Weeks or Last Week’s
The case for “this weeks” vs. “this week’s” and “last weeks” vs. “last week’s” differs in that the “last weeks” can be correct in the right context, unlike “this weeks.”
The phrase “last weeks” is not possessive but, rather, indicates a number of weeks in the recent past. On the other hand, “last week’s” with an apostrophe is the possessive form, which means that what follows belongs to the previous week.
Examples using “last weeks”:
I intend to make the last weeks of his stay as memorable as possible.
She wants to spend the last weeks of her American trip in New York.
Alfred has been absent a lot over the last weeks of the fourth term.
Examples using “last week’s”:
Last week’s comedy show was excellent.
I didn’t go to last week’s lecture and missed very important exam information.
She wants the notes for last week’s History class.
As you can see in the examples above, the meaning changes greatly depending on whether the noun is merely a plural noun or a singular possessive noun. It is useful to know the difference between the various parts of speech, so second-language students will do well to invest in useful study aids to help them distinguish between them.
Singular Possessive Nouns
In English, most singular nouns do not end in -s, but there are those that do. In the following section, you will find examples of both and how to use the apostrophe to correctly indicate possession.
Nouns Not Ending in S
Again, “week” is a singular noun, and it does not end in -s; therefore, we have to add an apostrophe -s to indicate possession of whatever follows. Similar to “week,” there are many other singular nouns that do not end in -s and that will need an apostrophe -s to show possession.
|Example Sentence||Possessive Form|
|The test we had this week was difficult.||This week’s test was difficult.|
|My husband owns a red car.||My husband’s car is red.|
|The roof of our house has a leak.||Our house’s roof has a leak.|
|A watermelon has black pips.||A watermelon’s pips are black.|
Nouns Ending in S
In the instance where a singular noun does end in -s, you will also add an apostrophe to indicate possession. However, you should consider the need for adding an additional -s as most words that fall into this category do not require it.
My boss’s suit is at the dry cleaner.
The bus’s door is stuck.
Our class’s marks are the highest.
Plural Possessive Nouns
In the English language, most plural nouns already end in -s. That is because we often form the plural of a word by adding an -s, even though there are also exceptions to this rule.
Still, for the most part, the rule is that a noun gets an -s in order to make it plural — for example, house → houses, curtain → curtains, bed → beds, table → tables, day → days, week → weeks. This article was written for strategiesforparents.com
However, just as there are singular nouns that don’t end in -s, there are also plural nouns that don’t end in -s. If the plural noun already ends in -s, it is the rule that you only add an apostrophe at the end to form the possessive, as is the case with weeks’.
The boys’ flight tickets are booked and ready.
Please direct me to the doctors’ rooms.
He is currently busy cleaning the horses’ stables.
The bridesmaids’ dresses are beautiful.
The past few weeks’ rainfall was plentiful.
On the other hand, for the exceptions to the rule when the plural noun does not end in -s, you will need to add an apostrophe -s to form the possessive.
The children’s bedrooms are untidy.
The oxen’s yokes are heavy.
Those women’s children are all very young.
Both the terms “week’s” and “weeks’” are correct, but it depends on how and where we use them. The term “week’s” is the singular possessive form of the noun “week,” and “weeks’” with the apostrophe at the end is the plural possessive form of that same noun.
In English, we form the plural of most nouns by simply adding an -s, so “weeks” is the plural of “week.” We also form the possessive by adding an apostrophe -s to singular nouns whether they end in -s or not, as is the case with “week’s.”
We form the plural possessive form of nouns by adding just an apostrophe if they already end in -s, as is the case with “weeks’.”