• How far is the drugstore from here?
  • It's 10 minutes walking.

I feel that I've read the second sentence (the response to the question) in a textbook. I'm asking this to make sure if it is a valid and a naturally spoken phrase or not. If not, why?

  • see also: "on foot/by foot" – ELU: "By foot" vs. "on foot"
    – Yorik
    Commented Sep 5, 2023 at 16:15
  • 1
    YES it sounds perfectly natural. One way to look at it - there's a comma. It's ten minutes, walking.
    – Fattie
    Commented Sep 6, 2023 at 20:23
  • 2
    To this brits ear, it feels more natural without the "ing" on the end. Commented Sep 6, 2023 at 20:51
  • Without a comma, it does not really sound too natural. It doesn't sound unusual per se, but no one says this. That said, everyone will understand what is meant by this
    – BigMistake
    Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 1:34

3 Answers 3


After some discussion in the comments, I now think it’s possible to justify the sentence with or without the possessive, as short for either:

It’s ten minutes [if you are] walking.

It’s ten minutes’ [worth of] walking.

But neither is a common way to put it. I’d be more likely to say (in American English)

[It’s] a ten-minute walk.

[It’s/It takes] ten minutes [to walk there].

[It’s/It takes] ten minutes on foot.

  • 3
    I'd agree with the apostrophe if it were "It's a ten minutes' walk", but I'm not sure about "It's ten minutes' walking". As a parallel, it certainly wouldn't be "It's ten minutes' on foot". Commented Sep 5, 2023 at 14:58
  • 3
    There should be no apostrophe on “ten minutes walking" - you are simply saying: it’s ten minutes [spent] walking. To me (British English) using “walking” like this doesn’t sound natural, but maybe it‘s fine in US usage. There is an apostrophe needed on the similar “It‘s ten minutes’ walk”. To help get that right, remember that it’s a walk of 10 minutes in duration, using “of” means that, grammatically, the walk “belongs” to the “ten minutes”, so you use the possessive.
    – KrisW
    Commented Sep 5, 2023 at 15:12
  • 1
    @NuclearHoagie Edited in my response to the great comments so far.
    – Davislor
    Commented Sep 5, 2023 at 15:15
  • I agree very much that the implied [if you are] makes "walking" make sense in the sentence. "it's ten minutes" is the complete sentence with "walking" as a qualifier. Commented Sep 5, 2023 at 15:49
  • 1
    @NuclearHoagie Using a in "a ten minutes' walk" would initially be parsed as incorrect for "a ten-minute walk" -- which is certainly idiomatic. Using a there is not idiomatic at all. (Related Q&A on ELU) Commented Sep 6, 2023 at 12:18

It implies :- it would take approximately 10 minutes to walk from here to the drugstore.

A 10-minute walk is a formal way of speaking the same.

  • Thank you. So, the response in question is not even spoken in causal conversation among the natives?
    – Shahrooz
    Commented Sep 5, 2023 at 7:34
  • Yes, but not in a formal situation.
    – Sam
    Commented Sep 5, 2023 at 7:58
  • 19
    Formality has nothing to do with it. At least in British English, ten minutes' walk from here would be the most idiomatic way to say it, but walking isn't absolutely wrong. Commented Sep 5, 2023 at 8:03
  • 2
    It’s certainly incorrect that “It’s a ten-minute walk” is more formal. If anything, I would say that “It’s ten minutes walking” is slightly more formal. There’s also no ‘approximate’ about it. Whether you say, “It’s ten minutes walking” or “It’s a ten-minute walk”, you’re saying that it takes ten minutes to walk there. If you wanted to be approximate, you would say, “It’s about ten minutes walking” or “It’s about a ten-minute walk”. @Tristan Davislor’s answer doesn’t mention ‘ten minutes’ walk’ either, only ‘ten minutes’ walking’. Commented Sep 6, 2023 at 9:59
  • 1
    @JanusBahsJacquet ah you're right, I saw the "ten minutes' walking" and the options with "walk" and just filled in the gap
    – Tristan
    Commented Sep 6, 2023 at 10:04

It's totally commonplace. In writing there'd be a comma.

{ Aside - just to be clear, I mean there'd be a comma in writing. There is no punctuation, whatsoever, in human utterances. }

You'd very often hear something like this ...

It's ten minutes, walking. It's five minutes, driving.

Others have pointed out that other formulations are more common - but so what?

It's completely commonplace.

I feel that I've read the [sentence] in a textbook.

Sure. FWIW it would have had a comma.

I'm asking this to make sure if it is a valid

100% valid

and a naturally spoken phrase or not

Yes, completely commonplace.

  • 1
    It does sound much more natural with the comma than without.
    – Davislor
    Commented Sep 6, 2023 at 20:29
  • @Davislor Sure. Just TBC I (obviously!) meant "when it is written". There is no concept of punctuation in vocal utterances.
    – Fattie
    Commented Sep 7, 2023 at 13:16
  • Right, although the comma would correspond to a pause in spoken English.
    – Davislor
    Commented Sep 7, 2023 at 16:32
  • Thank you so much. That was a great one.
    – Shahrooz
    Commented Sep 10, 2023 at 9:09

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