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This has been asked before, I'm sure, but it's tricky. I'd like to hear your opinions.

1) From the station it is a ten-minute drive to the house. Compound adjective: ten-minute

2) From the station it is ten minutes (drive) to the house. Compound adverb: ten minutes

3) From the station it is (a) ten-minutes' drive to the house. Compound plural possessive: ten minutes'
( ) for bits that may be omitted.

I don't think you can use a number before any other possessive form: *ten his car, *ten John's drive. 'minutes'' cannot possess 'drive' in any sense such as 'John's drive'.So really it says: 'ten minutes long of driving'

I think 'ten-minutes' is the base from which we build the possessive 'ten-minutes''. Others say, no hyphen. What do you say?
Comments  
These are acceptable:

From the station it is a ten-minute drive to the house.
From the station it is ten minutes to the house.
From the station it is ten minutes' drive to the house.
Mister MicawberFrom the station it is ten minutes' drive to the house.
I know for a fact that there are grammarians who accept a ten minutes' drive as well. This structure looks rather un-English, though, as there is a genitive between the article (a) and the noun it modifies (drive).

Of course, MrM, if you don't accept the phrase with the article, I respect your opinion![Y] Emotion: beer
(It shouldn't be too early for a beer in Japan.)

CB
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Why not 'ten minutes drive to the house' ? What problem do you see there?
PedroskiWhy not 'ten minutes drive to the house' ? What problem do you see there?
It isn't used.

CB
PedroskiWhy not 'ten minutes drive to the house' ? What problem do you see there?
When you have a quantity + noun modifying another noun, the first noun is never plural

a six-foot tall man
a two mile walk

a twenty year old woman
a hundred dollar bill
a five hundred pound gorilla

The Linguist
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However, some hyphens are needed:

a six-foot tall man
a two-mile walk

a twenty-year-old woman
a hundred-dollar bill
a five-hundred-pound gorilla
Mister MicawberHowever, some hyphens are needed:
a six-foot tall man
a two-mile walk
a twenty-year-old woman
a hundred-dollar bill
a five-hundred-pound gorilla
Thanks.
As I was writing the post I was thinking, "What's the rule? I'm sure there's rule about hyphens here. What the heck's the rule?"

What can I say? Fifth grade was a long time ago. Anyway, I knew someone would correct me if I got it wrong.

The Linguist
The rule is this: you cannot say:

six foot that would be: six feet
two mile two miles
twenty year twenty years
hundred dollar hundred dollars
five hundred five hundreds

So a hyphen is inserted. As far as I have got so far, this is related to how Old English formed its genitive forms. They resembled the singular. So that became rule: use the singular.

What bothers me is why the possessive is not hyphened:

ten elephants' trunks. You can have ten trunks or ten elephants but you cannot have ten elephants', elephants' being a possessive determiner, a function word, and not a thing, not a noun. So the possessive form is actually of ten elephants which is given a possessive ' . That is why I think it should have a hyphen, if ten-foot is hyphenated. As far as I am concerned, it is not so important, but it is inconsistent.
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