Learn English – How to show possession with the word “year” (“year’s” vs.”years”)


So, I develop for a company that does workplace-surveys. And one of our report-formats has just been translated into English. And with it a description on how to read the reports. This description contains the following sentence

When historical reporting is included, the column for this year's survey will be thinner, and the column for last year will appear behind it in grey.

Is this the correct spelling of year's in this context? I'm not a native English speaker/writer, but I do consider myself fluent, and this spelling tickled something in the back of my brain.

If it matters, the report format only displays a maximum of two years at a time (this year, and last year).

Best Answer

Yes, it is.

You would use years when talking about more than one year with no possessive involvement:

It had been years since I last thought about her.

We have been arguing over the same point for more than twenty years now.

Between the years 1914 and 1918, Newfoundland lost an entire generation of young men to an unspeakable horror that was supposed to be the war to end all wars.

You would use years' when talking about more than one year in a possessive sense:

We agreed to review our agreement in five years' time.

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