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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > in five years?    

in five years?


in five years?
In five years time I will be able to ...
In five years I will be able to ...

Which sentence is correct? Are there any rules which can be used to explain it?

Thanks. Smile

20 Mar 2009      

United States


In five years � time
is correct (use an apostrophe to show possession of the noun "time"):
a.  This expression is used to point to a specific moment in the future from the moment of speaking

Ex.  In five years � time he �ll be out of jail.  (After 5 more years, beginning now)

Within five years � time is also a correct form:
a.  This expression is used to focus on something happening before the 5 years are up

Ex. Within five years � time he �ll have committed other crimes (he �s expected to do bad things before 5 more years have passed)

In five years is correct:
a.  This expression is used to point to a moment in the future, perhaps compared to the speaker �s moment of speaking or at another time in the future

Ex.  In five years Santo will be 15 years old. (five years from this moment)
Ex.  He told me I �ll be more successful in five years (five years from the moment HE spoke)
Ex.  He had told me I would be more successful in five years, but he was wrong. (my conversation with him may have happened 10 years ago)

Hope this helps!

Your American friend

20 Mar 2009     


Zoemorosini thanks for reminding mi about using an apostrophe. And big thanks for your exhaustive explanation. I think they mean almost the same so they can be used interchangeably. Am I right?

Greeting from Poland Smile

20 Mar 2009     

United States

Pretty much.  "In five years" is more flexible.Tongue
Sorry if my explanation was over the top.  I tend to go on and on and on...

20 Mar 2009     

New Zealand

I thought it was a very good explanation.  I didn �t notice the missing apostrophe - thank you for giving us the reason as well.


20 Mar 2009     


Zoemorosini thanks once again. 

21 Mar 2009