I couldn't get the difference between these?

  1. give me a two hour leave

  2. give me two hours leave

What is more, when it comes to using the latter, which one would you rather use?

two hours' leave

two hour leave

  • 4
    Saying "a leave" for such a short period is more common in military than in business. You didn't state context. In business more commonly one asks for "time off"; depending on company policy this might be called unpaid "leave", or "personal time" or "comp time" (compensatory, for extra hours worked previously). "Boss, I need to take two hours off—could I use comp time?" – Brian Hitchcock Jan 7 '15 at 6:34
  • 1
    If it's only two hours, I think I would simply say "Give me a two-hour break, please." – Damkerng T. Jan 7 '15 at 7:36

Both are okay. However, I'd write in this way...

Grant me a two-hour leave (note the hyphen)
Grant me two hours' leave (note the apostrophe)

That's because I am making two-hour an adjective. On the other hand, if I want to use possession, I'd go for the second sentence.

Another option could be...

Grant me a leave for two hours (clarifying all possible ambiguities in your mind!)

  • 2
    Do all three examples mean exactly the same? I can imagine that "a two-hour leave" always is two consecutive hours while the other two examples might mean that you get time off for two hours in any way you want to plan it. For example in two chunks of 1 hour. – Ivo Beckers Jan 7 '15 at 14:56
  • Because there you are talking about two hours'. It's a kind of possession. @mathh – Maulik V Jan 9 '15 at 4:59
  • That forms a very good question in itself! @IvoBeckers Maybe, you need to define then... grant me two hours' leaveS I guess; an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. – Maulik V Jan 9 '15 at 5:02
  • @MaulikV Can you please explain to me about the word form of possession? Why it becomes a possession... how it works..., thanks! – XPMai Mar 16 '17 at 16:28
  • @XPMai check the link for possession - dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/determiners/… – Maulik V Mar 17 '17 at 7:25

It's either

Give me a two-hour leave. (I've used the hyphen to make a compound adjective)


Give me two hours' leave.

An example of use:

Back at the depot she requested forty-eight hours' leave. (Millions Like Us, 2011)


those all sound a bit demanding, how about -

Can I get 2 hours off please?

I would interpret the difference between the two statements as -

Can I get a single two hour block of leave


Can I get two hours of leave that I may choose to spread over four thirty minute periods

  • I think the examples were just context to ask about the difference between "two hour leave" and "two hours leave" and that the asker isn't really looking for a specific phrase to replace them. – ColleenV Jan 7 '15 at 14:08
  • Yes. Exactly you are right. I am wondering about that specific question which you have mentioned it" Colleen" – nima Jan 12 '15 at 10:22

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