Being a student of English language I'm confuse should I use singular or plural with number greater then 1?

For example, please consider and guide if I'm wrong in my use:

I'm a 5 years experienced accountant

or it should be:

I'm a 5 year experienced accountant

  • 2
    Neither is English, you will have to reword. "Accountant with five years of experience", or "accountant with experience of five years". Also, "I m" is not English, either. Where have you seen that? Do not do that.
    – ЯegDwight
    Jul 3, 2014 at 10:46
  • @ЯegDwight, how I will say if need to use experienced, is it correct "I m a five years experienced accountant" ? Thanks
    – user576510
    Jul 3, 2014 at 10:51
  • The question linked by ColleenV addresses your concern; but ЯegDwight is quite right: a) we do not use experienced this way, and b) the contraction of I am requires an apostrophe, I'm. Jun 2, 2016 at 13:21

3 Answers 3


Most of your examples sound odd with you using the word experienced; I think your root question may be addressed more easily with experience.

The word year may be left singular or pluralized, depending on how it's used:

My internship in San Diego was a five-year experience.

Here, the hyphen allows the words five and year to function together as a single adjective, modifying the word experience.

I acquired five years of experience during my internship in San Diego.

Here, five indicates the number of years, so the word years gets pluralized – unless the number happens to be one (1):

I will acquire one year of experience during my internship in San Diego.
I will acquire twelve months of experience during my internship in San Diego.


As ЯegDwight says, neither is English. Also, it's than 1 and you must use apostrophe to write I'm... to mean I am... However, even though you write it that way...

I'm a 5 year experienced accountant or I'm a 5 years experienced accountant, it's not proper.

Generally, we say...

I'm an accountant with five years of experience or with experience of five years.

But then you want to use the word experienced. So...

I'm an experienced accountant works fine.

That's because you want that word to be used as an adjective whereas our examples use it as a noun.

I'm not utterly sure about it but let others comment on this usage. However, this usage looks a bit odd -

I'm a 5-yr-experienced accountant which makes the entire set of words an adjective as in a 5-yr-old kid.

  • The fact that you suggested both with five years of experience and with experience of five years triggered my grammar alarm. I'm only used to the first one. Jul 3, 2014 at 12:00
  • 4
    Experience of five years is awkward: it suggests that you witnessed or suffered that timespan. I would say "I'm an accountant with five years' experience." Jul 3, 2014 at 12:25
  • 2
    It's interesting to know it's a common construction in India, but anyone reading your answer should also know it would sound awkward elsewhere.
    – J.R.
    Jul 3, 2014 at 14:43
  • 1
    @MaulikV It's intelligible, but odd to my ears.... But is OP writing for my ears - American ears? Jul 4, 2014 at 4:57
  • 1
    @Maulik - Ah, that's a great question! You can add an apostrophe after the s, or include the word of, i.e.: "at least five years' experience" or "at least five years of experience." In a want ad, though, the less formal "at least 5 years experience" is often used, and I'd consider it acceptable for a help wanted post – simply because it's more concise (the of is elided). But not everyone agrees; more here.
    – J.R.
    Jul 4, 2014 at 10:24

This is a plural possessive: "five years' experience."

It is not a contraction.

I have one year's experience -- I have one year of experience

I have five years' experience-- I have five years of experience

possessive of "year" is year's

possessive of "years" is years'

  • While you're correct about the apostrophe, you don't address the OP's actual question (should I use the singular or plural with numbers) or their example sentence.
    – ColleenV
    Jun 1, 2016 at 19:36

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