by Cherie Tucker
We’ve already examined the mysteries of apostrophe placement, so
this is just a little reminder because we have so many holidays
coming up that totally confound advertisers.
You’ll see all sorts of interesting apostrophes floating about or
missing entirely as 2009 progresses, so let’s examine them one at a
First, the holiday is New Year’s Day (or New Year’s Eve). Even
if the words Day or Eve are left off, they are
implied, so you must use the apostrophe. The word Year is
not plural—we only get one new one annually.
up is Valentine’s Day. That heart-shaped card is a valentine.
If you get more than one of them, you received valentines. The
day, however, belongs to St. Valentine, so you need the apostrophe
before the s.
days later we honor all of our Presidents. The holiday used to be
just for Washington’s birthday on the 22nd, with a glancing nod to
Lincoln on the 12th. Then, when they made all those three-day
weekends, they combined all Presidential birthdays into one glorious
Monday, now known as Presidents’ Day. You will see the
apostrophe before the s or find it left out in more ads than
you will see it placed correctly, but we are honoring all the
Presidents, so the apostrophe belongs at the end.
days to honor Mother and Father have become just that. We are not
honoring the group but the concept, so those are written Mother’s
Day and Father’s Day.
with St. Valentine, so with St. Patrick. There was only one, and
the day is his: St. Patrick’s Day. The apostrophe goes
before the s.
last holiday with an s is Veterans Day. Sadly the
important apostrophe that should reside after the s to show
that this day is for all who served was officially removed in the
1950s by our very own government. Perhaps it was to save money.
I’m sure no one would mind if you put it back in. Pretend it’s a
Cherie Tucker, owner of GrammarWorks, has taught writing basics to
professionals since 1987, presenting at the PNWA conference.
She currently teaches Practical Grammar for Editors at the
University of Washington’s Editing Certification program and edits