Not sure which one is the right one?

-I have 5 years experience in playing chess.

-I have 5 year experience in playing chess.

-I have 5 years of experience in playing chess.

It seems that the 2nd and the 3rd is ok, but I am not so sure

2 Answers 2


Here are some facts would make it more clearer:

Years are countable so using 5 years would be correct.

Oxford dictionary says:

[countable, usually plural] age; time of life

-He was 14 years old when it happened.

-She looks young for her years.

-They were both only 20 years of age.

-A twenty-year-old manHe died in his sixtieth year.

-She's getting on in years (= is no longer young).

Experience can be used as both countable and uncountable

Countable forms:

[countable] an event or activity that affects you in some way

-an enjoyable/exciting/unusual/unforgettable, etc. experience

experience (of something):

-It was her first experience of living alone.

Uncountable forms:

[uncountable] the knowledge and skill that you have gained through doing something for a period of time; the process of gaining this

-to have more than ten years of teaching experience

-Do you have any previous experience with this type of work?


[uncountable] the things that have happened to you that influence the way you think and behave

-Experience has taught me that life can be very unfair.

-It is important to try and learn from experience.

So here we are looking for the first uncountable form which fits exactly what we are looking for.

Which gives us the result:

-I have 5 years of experience in playing chess.


I would write "five years' experience" (With the apostrophe) but these days people are often eliminating apostrophes altogether.

  • +1 And we normally use the ’s genitive with words that specify a time periods. A day's work. A three week's holiday, etc.
    – None
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 12:15
  • 2
    "I have five years(' | of) chess(-playing) experience." Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 12:24
  • @TylerJamesYoung you beat me to it. xD Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 12:57

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