Who could ever forget Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock’s 2002 rom-com movie titled “Two Weeks’ Notice”?
If you have seen the film, or at least voluntarily left an organization in the past, then you surely wouldn’t have a hard time getting the hang of this English phrase.
Our article today covers the meaning, grammar, context of “two weeks’ notice,” as well as some example sentences to help you get rid of the confusion.
Let’s now take a walk through every nook and cranny of “two weeks’ notice,” an expression bearing a fairly negative connotation due to its association with resignations.
What does “two weeks’ notice” mean?
“Two weeks’ notice” is a corporate jargon used to alert an employer in advance that an employee is resigning from his or her job. However, in general, it may refer to any form of notification given fourteen days or two weeks prior to an event or transaction that is expected to officially occur.
Contextualizing the expression “two weeks’ notice”
Top of the morning to you, dear Linguaholic! This section covers the context in which the rather negative connotation of “two weeks’ notice” is likely coming from.
Voluntary resignations are often a burden to any employer, as well as to other employees, because organizational operations may get obstructed every time they happen.
This thereby means that the company would need to hire and train a new replacement to take over the resignee’s tasks and responsibilities when a talent decides to resign.
Or, the job role may be temporarily given to an existing employee, especially someone from the same department, if the replacement isn’t immediately available.
This solution may still not be entirely ideal, for the temporary replacement may not be capable of knowing everything that the resignee does in a limited span of time.
This can be especially true in cases when the resignee has been doing the same role for years because he or she has already gained unique expertise regarding the job.
Also, this would be deemed problematic when the company does not have a solid transition plan or system for turnovers.
Resignations are bittersweet situations that are naturally expected in any workplace environment, which also often entails an advanced notification from the resignee.
These forms of notifications are usually given verbally. But, in many cases, resignees may still write a voluntary resignation letter to officially make this happen.
Ideally and traditionally speaking, the standard practice is to provide a voluntary or willful resignation notice thirty days before the desired date.
However, depending on the contract officially signed by both parties, resignation policies may differ from one organization to another.
At present, voluntary resignees are encouraged to give a minimum of two weeks’ worth of advanced notice to their employers, hence the expression.
To supplement turnovers, companies also implement referral systems, which may or may not be incentivized.
On behalf of the company, human resource administrators are expected to know how to respond to resignation letters formally and tactfully.
When referrals or introductions take place, it is ideal that the person being introduced also religiously knows how to write a thank you reply to an introduction email.
These communicative skills would enable a smooth transition for the replacement procedures, which, of course, demonstrates basic business etiquette.
Grammatical Guidelines for “Two weeks’ notice”
Grammar, particularly in the specific branches like syntax or morphology, is tricky simply because it works like “algebra” in languages.
The grammatical concern behind “two weeks’ notice” is frowned upon by both natives and non-natives alike because of the rules governing its construction.
I have summarized these grammatical rules into “three p’s,” which stands for pluralization, possession, and punctuation.
Let’s look at each of them in detail to understand each facet more deeply.
Although a “week” inherently refers to a collection of seven days, something we can think of as “plural,” it is to be treated as a word in its singular form in English grammar.
As it is a singular term, then it can be pluralized by adding a suffix, which is a letter or syllable added at the end of a word to change its sense or meaning.
This is the basic pluralization rule to be taken by the word “week,” as well as other nouns ending in consonant and vowel sounds except “s,” “x,” “z”, “ch,” and “sh.”
Therefore, we can pluralize consonant-ending words by adding the suffix “-s” such as in “months” or “years” and vowel-ending ones like “decades” or “eras.”
To help you further with pluralization rules, please feel free to read our supplementary material covering the plural of “attorney” in detail.
In the phrase “two weeks’ notice,” we are also looking at what we refer to as “possessive nouns” in grammar.
This grammatical construct is useful in representing the idea of “ownership” or “belongingness” through comprehensible written language.
It is unfathomable to say that “notices can belong to weeks,” which is likely what’s making people feel like twisting a knife in making sense of the expression being discussed.
So, let’s take it from the angle that “two weeks’ notice” is the truncated or shortened version of “a notice that is given in two weeks,” “two weeks’ worth of notice,” “a notice of two weeks,” or “two weeks of notice.”
Using the rather lengthy and more formal versions of the expression could be a waste of time, energy, and white space; hence, the truncation.
If using “two weeks’ notice” makes you cringe or pull a long face, then feel free to use “a notice of two weeks” instead, which is the least taxing among the versions mentioned earlier.
My fingers are aching to tell you more about it, but you may just check it out during your free time by clicking the link attached directly to those words above.
Digression aside, the expression may also be alternatively represented by using the hyphenated adjective format “two-week notice,” minus the pluralization suffix “-s.”
In this case, the noun “notice” is being modified by the compound adjectival element “two-week,” just like when we say “a five-dollar dessert” or “a three-meter rod.”
Although using the adjective form is also grammatically correct, it is less conventionally utilized by native English language users, as per Google Ngram Viewer.
So, if you want to avoid misinterpretations and criticisms from any native English speaker who’s a stickler for grammar, then it is best to go with the possessive noun structure of the expression.
The punctuation mark goes after the suffix “-s,” which is the last letter of the plural word “weeks.” Bear in mind not to put it immediately after the letter “k,” okay?
The punctuation mark I’m talking about is called an “apostrophe” in English. I do hope that you already know that apostrophes in email addresses are also a thing.
More particularly, the case of the apostrophe in “two weeks’ notice” is called “dangling apostrophe,” which is used to construct plural possessive nouns.
Dangling apostrophes are functional punctuation marks used when you want to avoid making your plural marker redundant.
For example, albeit still comprehensible, you do not want to write “two weeks’s notice” because your grammar-checker tool will likely have a seizure if and when you opt to do so.
Kidding aside, the dangling apostrophe apparently serves its function by inhibiting your readers from having an eyesore while reading.
In other words, it makes your plural possessive expressions simply more “readable.”
Dangling apostrophes can also be observed in cases wherein your singular nouns naturally end in “-s,” such as in people’s names like “James” or “Agnes” and places like “Kansas” or “Colorado Springs.”
The use of the phrase “Two weeks’ notice” (Examples)
Now that we’ve looked at the expression inside out, let’s also take a look at some example sentences using “two weeks’ notice” to completely get rid of this issue.
“Two weeks’ notice” in resignation letters/conversations
Please consider this as my two weeks’ notice.
This letter is my two weeks’ notice prior to my planned resignation effective (exact date).
Please accept this letter as my official two weeks’ notice for my voluntary resignation effective (exact date).
I regret to inform you about my resignation, but please consider this discussion as my two weeks’ notice.
I should be able to give you my written two weeks’ notice by the end of the day.
“Two weeks’ notice” in other contexts
Although “two weeks’ notice” is mostly linked with employee departures, here are also other cases where the expression is applicable:
My dentist gave me two week’s notice for my dental extraction.
They were given two weeks’ notice prior to their termination.
Two weeks’ notice was provided for our hotel booking cancellation.
Before she started her job, her employer had given her given two weeks’ notice.
They provided two weeks’ notice before our flight cancellation.
Frequently Asked Questions on “Two Weeks’ Notice”
Is it “two weeks’ notice” or “two weeks notice”?
The grammatically correct expression is “two weeks’ notice,” which is constructed in the possessive noun case.
What can I say when giving two weeks’ notice prior to resignation?
Valid reasons that could be used within two weeks’ notice include personal or family health-related issues, rather immediate residence relocation, and parental leave of absence (e.g., maternity or paternity leave).
Can an employer fire you after you give two weeks’ notice?
If you were hired at will and your legal agreement with your employer states so, yes you can still be fired before the end of your two weeks’ notice.
Every language’s grammar is beautiful in such a way that interesting sets of rules exist for the successful representation and interpretation of “meaning.”
This is true not only in the English language but also with other well-established and well-researched languages.
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Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.